Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Matthew 4:12-23

"The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light"

The past two Sundays have brought us scenes from the Jordan where John was baptising. In different ways they marked the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. For thirty hidden years he had lived in Nazareth and now he had come to settle in Capernaum by the side of the lake known as the Sea of Galilee. He had left his trade as a carpenter and taken up the role of preacher. From now on he was to be seen by the lakeside, in the villages, on the roads, in the synagogues, wherever people gathered, teaching, healing the sick, welcoming the outcast, calling people to make a new start in life. He was in a very real sense a great light for the people that lived in darkness.

But he was anxious that his work should continue and broaden out. His ministry of teaching and healing, of bringing God’s love, forgiveness and peace into the lives of people was to be entrusted to others. Within the crowds surrounding him were some whom he called directly to follow him. Peter, Andrew, James, John were ordinary working men, professional fishermen, with no expressed intention of, or training for doing anything different. Yet they left all that behind in answer to his call to be his close disciples. They had heard his words and seen his works, they had experienced his goodness and now, moved by his direct invitation, they gave the ‘yes’ of their lives to being with him.

They, along with the others who were added to their number, the initial members of the community that built up around Jesus, were to become the witnesses to Jesus whose testimony would change the world in his name. They were ‘for Jesus’ and so were bonded together in him and with him. Their deep desire was to bring his light into the lives of others. They continued not just his message but his presence. The light they received from him, they have passed on to us, to be passed on to others.