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by Francis Fernandez-Carvajal January 29, 2020 3 min read

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3rd Week of Ordinary Time: the Light That Shines in the Darkness

By Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

3/16.1 Jesus brings light to a world submerged in darkness. Faith illumines our whole life.

Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea: quem timebo? The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?[2584] These words of the Responsorial Psalm are a confession of faith and a manifestation of our certainty – faith in Our Lord, who is the Light of our lives, and certainty because it is in Christ that we find the strength we need to stick to our path each day. In the Creed which we say during Mass we refer to the Son of God as Light from light.

Mankind walked in darkness until Jesus was born in Bethlehem and a light shone on earth. Over these past weeks we have considered how Christ’s brightness shone on Mary and Joseph, on the shepherds and the Magi. Then He, that bright morning star[2585] hides himself for years in the little town of Nazareth and lives the normal life of his fellow countrymen. In fact He still continues to give light to men’s lives, for in the years at Nazareth he has shown us, through his hidden life, that ordinary life can and should be sanctified. Now, after he has left Nazareth and has been baptised in the Jordan, he goes to Capharnaum to begin his public life.[2586]

In this past Sunday's Gospel, Saint Matthew reminds us of the prophecy of Isaiah which said that the Messiah would give light to the whole world. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and for whose who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.[2587] Like a newly-risen sun, Jesus brings the radiance of truth to the world, and a supernatural clarity to minds which no longer want to remain in a state of darkness, ignorance and error.

Saint Matthew also tells us that once Christ had begun his public life, the first men to receive the powerful influence of this light were those disciples whom he called as he walked by the Sea of Galilee. The first were Simon and Andrew, who were fishermen: Jesus called them and immediately they left their nets and followed him; and then came two more brothers, James and John, who also left everything immediately and followed Jesus. These men experienced the fascination of the hidden light that emanated from him, and they followed him without delay so that their path through life might shine with his brightness. But that light of Jesus shines out for everyone.[2588] He dispels our darkness and gives meaning to our lives; to our daily work, to our weariness, to our sorrows and our joys ...

The Gospels tell us how for many individuals, for whole crowds, the life of Jesus is like a story told to them of an unexpected meeting; we too sometimes find ourselves in the dark but know that the light can scarcely wait to break through.[2589] We hear in the First Reading of the Mass that today, too, the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined... Thou hast increased their joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.[2590] It is the joy that comes from faith and which gives light to all our activities: it is the marvel of Jesus, who gives meaning to everything that happens to us and to everything we do.


[2584] Ps 26:1

[2585] Rev 22:16

[2586] cf John Paul II, Homily, 25 January 1981

[2587] Matt 4:16; cf Is 9:1-4

[2588] John Paul II, ibidem

[2589] cf A. G. Dorronsoro, Notes on the Virtue of Hope, Madrid, 1974

[2590] Is 9:2-3



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