January 22: Liberation and Reform

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January 22: Liberation and Reform

While you might have to reach for an atlas to determine that Isaiah is speaking about Galilee, today’s first reading (part of which was read at Christmas) is prophetic of Jesus’ future ministry in that province. The light that brings salvation and rejoicing is, ultimately, Christ. Liberation is the theme: liberation from both ignorance (“darkness”) and sin (the “yoke”). As Isaiah identifies a place, so Paul describes an attitude: the attitude that develops, even among good people, of equating their own will with the common good. This always brings dissension, and so it has done in Corinth. Paul will not allow this; we are all members of “Christ’s party.” The gospel is not to divide us. Matthew quotes from Isaiah in today’s Gospel, presenting Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies. The theme is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). To spread this message, Jesus begins to select disciples, four of whom we meet today: Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

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