Monday after Epiphany, Jan 4

1 John 3:33 - 4:6 / Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25

Jesus begins to preach; "Reform your lives. " 

One Sunday night a young man knelt down alone at his bedside. It was not a sudden impulse on his part but the result of some serious soul-searching. He decided that the time had finally come for him to open himself totally to Jesus Christ. There in the darkness of his room, the young man examined his conscience and thanked Jesus for making it possible to have his sins forgiven.

The next day he wrote in his journal: "Behold, Jesus stands at the door and knocks. I have heard him and now he has come into my house. He has cleansed it and now rules it." John Stott. Basic Christianity


What area of our lives most needs change? "It is one thing to see the land of peace . . . and another thing to tread the road that leads to it." Augustine, Confessions 7:21


The gospel of today speaks of the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry. He preaches his gospel of repentance-conversion first to the semi-pagan Jews of Galilee: he becomes their light. The signs that the kingdom of God has begun with him are that the sick are cured, that he goes to the poor and the suffering. John says in the first reading that our love of neighbor and our obedience to the commandments will also be signs that the kingdom has come among us.


In every hospital, there is an A&E Department. As the name indicates, it is where accidents victims are sent to and emergencies cases are attended to.  The images that we can imagine are probably what we have seen in movies, or if we have been there, we would know what the place is like.  For example, it could be an old lady with an ECG monitor, a man in oxygen mask, a young mother grieving over the death of her child, etc.  The underlying question of the patients and their loved ones seemed to be this: Why is this happening to me?


This is also the same question that we will ask when we ourselves become ill or when our loved ones become seriously ill.  On this Monday after Epiphany, the gospel proclaims to us that in Jesus, we see God our healer.  But physical illness and suffering can be alleviated by medicine. A greater suffering is the suffering of the heart, an emotional and a spiritual kind of suffering.  That kind of suffering and pain can only be addressed with the healing that Jesus came to bring.  The prophecy of Isaiah gives us an idea of what is this kind of healing when it says: The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death, a light has dawned. 


In other words, Jesus the true Light shines on us to heal our broken and hurting hearts so that we can get up and walk in the light of love.  The healing light of Christ continues to shine in the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick.  Let us open our hearts with confidence in the light that God our Healer wants to give us.


It is aptly said that a Christian is never more so than when he or she is assisting others. There are many people who do not believe that they have the strength to cope with another day. How meaningful it is for us to be present to them. Such acts of charity have immeasurable consequences.

The letter of John reminds us again today that to deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is to separate ourselves from God. This is but to say that there are certain truths of our faith that are immutable. The incarnation is one of them. Jesus was not merely a good man. Nor did he simply seem to be a man. As John states, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us” John 1:14). This is the central belief of our faith.


Prayer: Lord our God, your kingdom began to take shape when your Son showed his care for the sick and for all those who suffer. Help us to love people and to care for them, especially for the poor, the dispossessed, and the misfits of life. Let this be the sign that his Spirit is working in us and that your Son is present among us, he who is our Lord for ever.