Watching for the morning of January 26
The Third Sunday after Epiphany
Though the sounds and images of the Christmas season linger as we sing the song of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest,” and hear of light shining in the darkness, the Gospel takes us to the dawning days of Jesus’ public ministry with the summoning of Peter, Andrew, James and John from their nets.
Fishing in the Sea of Galilee was licensed by the Emperor. As rough and hardy as they may be, these are not independent working stiffs, but men caught up in the imperial rule of Rome. Jesus summons them to serve a different empire, a kingdom that frees rather than enslaves. In the irony of the image, to become fishers for people is not a summons to ensnare people into service of God, but to liberate them from the nets that falsely claim their lives.
The Prayer for January 26, 2014
you call us to follow your Son Jesus in lives of witness and love.
Form our hearts and minds by your Holy Spirit
that we may ever rejoice in the freedom of your grace
and be faithful in our calling as your voice and hands in the world.
The Texts for January 26, 2014
First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-4
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” – In the aftermath of war, the prophet speaks to announce the dawning of a new day when “the rod of their oppressor” has been broken.
Psalmody: Psalm 27:1, 4-9
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” – A song of confident trust in God.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
“Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” – Paul takes up the problem of a community divided into parties defined by various teachers, centering them instead in the message of the cross.
Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23
“Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” – Matthew describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Capernaum as a fulfillment of the Isaiah text for Sunday, then relates the summoning of Andrew, Peter, James and John.