Bible Group

Mass Readings for Sunday 26 January
The 3rd in Ordinary Time
St. Paul’s Bible Group

First Reading               Isaiah 8:23-9:3
In days past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in days to come he will confer glory on the Way of the Sea on the far side of Jordan, province of the nations.

The people that walked in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone.

You have made their gladness greater,
you have made their joy increase;
they rejoice in your presence
as men rejoice at harvest time,
as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

For the yoke that was weighing on him,
the bar across his shoulders,
the rod of his oppressor,
these you break as on the day of Midian.

Commentary

He humbled the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali. Isaiah is here making reference to the war in 735–732 B.C. (2 Kgs 15:29) when the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III invaded the Northern kingdom of Israel and established the Assyrian province of Megiddo.

Zebulun: This was the land near to mount Carmel and the sea, as far as the Lake of Genesareth.  Nazareth, the town where Jesus was brought up, is found here.  Our Lord also taught many things and did many miracles in this area during his Galilean ministry, when a Great light shone upon them.

Naphtali: This is the territory on the extreme north center of Palestine, with the Jordan on the east and the tribes of Asher and Zebulun on the west. Its land was some of the finest in Palestine, “it invites the most slothful to take pains to cultivate it” (Fl. Josephus), perhaps this is why the Jews were never able to completely expel the natives of these places, as “foreigners” were always present in that area, later called the “Galilee of the nations” (or Gentiles Mt 4:14:15).

Responsorial Psalm   Ps 26
Response:           The Lord is my light and my help.

  1. 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?         Response
  2. 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.                     Response
  3. 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!                          Response

St. Augustine comments:

Christ’s young soldier speaks, on his coming to the faith.

The Lord is my light, and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord will give me both knowledge of Himself, and salvation: who shall take me from Him? The Lord will repel all the assaults and snares of mine enemy: of no man shall I be afraid.

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That as long as I am in this life, no adversities may exclude me from the number of them who hold the unity and the truth of the Lord’s faith throughout the world.

That I may contemplate the delight of the Lord. With this end, namely, that persevering in the faith, the delightsome vision may appear to me, which I may contemplate face to face.

Second Reading               1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17

I appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice. From what Chloe’s people have been telling me, my dear brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you. What I mean are all these slogans that you have, like: ‘I am for Paul,’ ‘I am for Apollos,’ ‘I am for Cephas,’ ‘I am for Christ’. Has Christ been parcelled out? Was it Paul that was crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?

For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the Good News, and not to preach that in the terms of philosophy in which the crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed.

Commentary

Here, St. Paul corrects the community in Corinth about their divisions due to special allegiances to those who had initiated many in the faith. A similar practice is found today when, for example, people go to Mass because they like the priest and take no heed of Christ’s sacrifice on the altar.

Gospel Acclamation  Mt 4:23
Alleluia, alleluia!
Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom,
and cured all kinds of sickness among the people
Alleluia!

 

Gospel                               Matthew 4:12-23

Hearing that John had been arrested Jesus went back to Galilee,  and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali.  In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
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.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once 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. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they 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. At once leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogue proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds diseases and sickness among the people.

Commentary

Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the light rising upon Zebulun and Naphtali (Is 8:22–9:1), first by growing up in Nazareth, then by his public ministry in  Capernaum. It is interesting that the first territories to be devastated by the Assyrian invasion (733–32 B.C.), were the first to receive the preaching of the Good News.  

He saw two brothers. The call of the first disciples to share in Jesus’ work demands abandonment of family, property and way of life. Three of these four disciples called here, Simon, James, and John, are distinguished throughout the Gospels for their closeness to Jesus (Mt 17:1; 26:37).