3rd Sunday In Ordinary TimeYear A - 22/1/2023 - Gospel: Mt 6: 25-34
For a Purpose
Jesus came into this world, not by an accident, but He is God's special gift, who, out of his love for mankind, sent His only Son to the world to do the saving mission. Several hundred years earlier before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah had prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and that the holy family would live in exile in Egypt, and then returned not to their hometown but to Nazareth. These significant events, one by one, slowly unfolded exactly as the prophet had prophesied. The prophecy affirmed that God would never leave the humanity to die in their sin, the sin of disobedience. God, in a mysterious way and unknown to us, would one day exercise God's mighty power to defeat the forces of evil, and that was Jesus' saving mission on earth. Jesus' teachings, his birth, death, and resurrection would all reveal the boundless God's love for mankind. God's love is made visible through Jesus, who is the light for the world. The shepherds and Magi were the first two groups of people to meet God's Son. The meetings enlightened their hearts. The birth of Jesus was good news for people of goodwill, and those who prefer to live in darkness would live in fear. His birth is the beginning of the battle between good and evil.

Hearing John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus went to Capernaum, the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali were the two tribes of Israel; the land was named after the people. The land presently was occupied by the Gentile imperial power. Darkness in human hearts would not only darken the land; but darkened also the whole network of human relationships, including their faith in God. When people sin, both the land and its people were darkened. Jesus came to Capernaum to show God's love and mercy and brought them back to God. Jesus began his public ministry which was also God's public ministry because

'The Son can do nothing by himself.... but whatever the Father does the Son does too' Jn 5,19.

In Capernaum, Jesus proclaimed the same theme that John did. John called the people to repent and believe that the kingdom of God is close at hand. This was to confirm what John proclaimed was not of his own, but God revealed it to him. Jesus also accepted John's disciples to be his own. This acceptance indicates Jesus would welcome anyone who came to him. John's preaching was preserved for a chosen race. Jesus expanded it to everyone; and brought it to a higher level, the level of the spirit.

People praised Jesus saying his teaching was new and he taught with authority. Furthermore, His teaching was accompanied by actions, his healing ministry. Jesus himself rose from the dead and appeared multiple times to his apostles, and that implied Jesus had defeated the power of death forever.

The criteria for choosing his disciples were not based on social power, wealth, and personal talents, but rather a simplicity in life, a willingness to follow, and a humble of heart, which are vital conditions in becoming Jesus' disciples. He handed pick the twelve and they accompanied him in his public ministry. He formed them, changed their profession, called them apostles, and taught them to forgive each other's weaknesses. The apostles had faith first and then slowly come to understanding.

Before returning to the Father, Jesus entrusted his public ministry into their hands, which today is known as the Church. The apostles remain faithful to Jesus' teaching and teach the next generations to do the same. They were faithful to Jesus' teaching; and believed that he was not with them in a physical form as he used to be, but in spirit. The apostles relied heavily on the Spirit, who would guide, govern, lead, and be their trusted companion in their journey. We learn from the apostles to love; and accept ours and each other's limitations.