Liturgy of the Sunday

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Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sunday of the Word of God.
Memorial of Timothy and Titus, co-operators of Paul and bishops of Ephesus and Crete.


First Reading

Isaiah 8,23-9,3

For is not everything dark as night for a country in distress? As the past humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, so the future will glorify the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, the territory of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on the inhabitants of a country in shadow dark as death light has blazed forth. You have enlarged the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest time, as they exult when they are dividing the spoils. For the yoke that weighed on it, the bar across its shoulders, the rod of its oppressor, these you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Psalmody

Psalm 26

Antiphon

Lord do not hide your face.

The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?

'The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink?

When evil-doers draw near
to devour my flesh,

it is they, my enemies and foes,
who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me
my heart would not fear.

Though war break out against me
even then would I trust.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,

to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life.

To savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple.

For there he keeps me safe in his tent
in the day of evil.

He hides me in the shelter of his tent,
on a rock he sets me safe.

And now my head shall be raised
above my foes who surround me

and I shall offer within his tent a sacrifice of joy
I will sing and make music for the Lord

O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
have mercy and answer.

Of you my heart has spoken :'Seek his face'.
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;

Hide not your face.
Dismiss not your servant in anger;

You have been my help do not abandon or forsake me,
O God my help!

Though father and mother forsake me,
The Lord will receive me.

Instruct me, Lord,
in your way;
on an even path lead me.

When they lie in ambush protect me from my enemy's greed.
False witnesses rise against me,
breathing out fury.

I am sure I shall see the Lord's goodness
in the land of the living.

Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord!

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1,10-13.17

Brothers, I urge you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, not to have factions among yourselves but all to be in agreement in what you profess; so that you are perfectly united in your beliefs and judgements. From what Chloe's people have been telling me about you, brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you. What I mean is this: every one of you is declaring, 'I belong to Paul,' or 'I belong to Apollos,' or 'I belong to Cephas,' or 'I belong to Christ.' Has Christ been split up? Was it Paul that was crucified for you, or was it in Paul's name that you were baptised? After all, Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel; and not by means of wisdom of language, wise words which would make the cross of Christ pointless.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 4,12-23

Hearing that John had been arrested he withdrew to Galilee, and leaving Nazara he went and settled in Capernaum, beside the lake, on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali! Way of the sea beyond Jordan. Galilee of the nations! The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a country of shadow dark as death a light has dawned. From then onwards Jesus began his proclamation with the message, 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.' And at once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. And at once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him. He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and illness among the people.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

"Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee." Thus begins the evangelical pericope of this third Sunday of ordinary time. The evangelist seems to want to emphasize the link between Jesus's preaching and John's arrest. With the Baptist in prison, the voice of justice could no longer be heard and the desert was once again deserted, a place without life and without words. Jesus did not resign himself to the silence imposed by Herod; he did not want people, those who he too had seen, contrite and full of hope, in line at the Jordan to receive baptism, to remain at the mercy of a ritualistic and shallow religion or to fall under the yoke of violence that arose from the desert of life and the silence of true words.
He took the initiative and began to speak, no longer in Judea, like John, but in the peripheral Galilee, the northernmost of the three regions of Palestine. In Jesus' time, the presence of strong pagan representatives had discredited this region. Yet it is precisely in this peripheral land, far from the capital, that Jesus begins his preaching (1:14); gathers the first disciples (1:16) and here the Risen will await the disciples for the "second" beginning of evangelical preaching (14:28). In the "Galilee of the peoples" the Gospel, the good news, is heard for the first time. Here, where pagans and the marginalized mingled, Jesus begins to say: "the time has come," the days of violence, hatred, abandonment, and enmity end and the time for justice and peace begin. The history of humankind reaches a turning point, "The Kingdom of God is near." The kingdom of love, forgiveness, salvation, and God's lordship has come and from this moment begins to assert itself in the life of humankind.
"Repent," Jesus asked everyone. He also repeated the invitation on the shores of Lake Tiberias to Simon and Andrew, while they were intent on throwing the nets. Continuing to walk, he proposed it to two other brothers, James and John, who were also busy mending their nets. Jesus entrusts precisely them with an extraordinary task: "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." The Lord returns along the sea of our days and our lives and while each of us, small or big, is bent over repairing our nets, overwhelmed by the pains and toils of always and we hear the same invitation as then: "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." The Gospel notes that "immediately" the four left the nets and followed him. Indeed, as the Apostle Paul notes, "the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away" (7:29-31). The affections, the crying, the joy, the buying, the using often exhaust our days, our minds, our lives, so much so that they lock them up as if they were in an inextricable web. The Lord comes not to mortify life, but rather to dissolve it from this tangled web and grow it; he wants to extend affection to so many other people, he wants us to weep not only for ourselves but with those who are afflicted, he wants that joy not be for the few but for the many, he wants the goods of this world to be not for the privilege of some because they are destined for all.