Thứ Bảy, 21 tháng 1, 2017

JANUARY 22, 2017 : THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 67

Reading 1IS 8:23—9:3
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom 
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD. 
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe's people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
"I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," 
or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ."
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

AlleluiaMT 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 4:12-23
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death 
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.


When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death 
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."


3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Note: Where a Scripture text is underlined in the body of this discussion, it is recommended that the reader look up and read that passage. 

1st Reading - Isaiah 8:23 - 9:3

Today we hear from a portion of Isaiah called the “Book of Emmanuel.” This book encompasses chapters 7 through 12. The portion we read from today is titled “The Prince of Peace.” The events described in Chapters 7 through 12 took place between 735 and 733 B.C. It is the Syro-Ephramitic war which is concisely described in 2 Kings 16:5-9 “5 Then Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to attack it. Although they besieged Ahaz, they were unable to conquer him. 6 At the same time the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom, driving the Judeans out of it. The Edomites then entered Elath, which they have occupied until the present. 7 Meanwhile, Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, with the plea: “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the clutches of the king of Aram and the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold that were in the temple of the LORD and in the palace treasuries and sent them as a present to the king of Assyria, 9 who listened to him and moved against Damascus, which he captured. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death.” 

Isaiah=s task was to guide Judah through one of the most critical periods in her history. With the death of Uzziah in 742 B.C., Judah’s time of prosperity and national glory had come to an end. The shadow of Assyria lay menacingly over the land. In his lifetime Isaiah saw the northern kingdom of Israel swept away in the tide of conquest and his own land of Judah invaded by the mighty Assyrian armies. But the spiritual crisis of Judah was even more serious than the threat of physical destruction. Greed, hypocrisy and injustice were sapping the spiritual integrity of Judah. There was also the national loss of nerve that led its rulers to seek an accommodation with Assyria and her gods, thus undermining the very foundation of Judah’s existence as a covenanted people. Judah’s king was the descendent of David to whom an eternal dynasty had been promised (2 Samuel 17). With Assyria sweeping all before her, many of the Judeans began to doubt the power of Yahweh to preserve the dynasty of David in accordance with His promises. Others took an opposite but equally unspiritual position; interpreting the covenant with David as a guarantee of absolute invincibility no matter what crimes were committed against Yahweh. When religion becomes a blank check for national wrongdoing, the end is not far off; no one saw this better than Isaiah. King Uzziah had been succeeded by Jotham (ruled 742 - 735 B.C.) who was succeeded by Ahaz (ruled 735 - 715 B.C.). 

Isaiah looked for a successor to Ahaz in whom the promise of the dynasty would be realized; in our reading today Isaiah describes him and the deliverance his coming would occasion. 

8:23 First he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali;

Zebulun and Naphtali were the first provinces of Israel to be overrun. Some of the population of these territories was sent into exile. 

but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land West of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles. 

Eventually God will restore the ravaged lands to their former glory. Our gospel reading for today sees in Jesus’ Galilean proclamation of the kingdom of God the fulfillment of this prophecy. 

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness; for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. 9:1 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. 2 You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, As they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils. 3 For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, And the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. 

The yoke, pole and rod are symbols of Assyrian oppression. The captive’s condition is compared to that of a harnessed farm animal, a fairly common image of enslavement. Usually the yoke was made of wood but sometimes of metal. The pole was the bar of the yoke that pressed down on the captives shoulders. In 10:27 and 14:25 Isaiah compares the liberation of Israel from Assyrian captivity to the breaking of a yoke and the lifting of a burden. The “day of Midian” is an allusion to Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites in which victory comes from Yahweh (Judges 7:15-25). 

2nd Reading - 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17

From the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 18:1-18) we know that the church of Corinth was founded by Saint Paul, with the help of Silas and Timothy, during his 2nd missionary journey. The apostle had arrived in Corinth from Athens, where he had made few converts. This relative failure in Athens, plus the moral corruption which reigned supreme in Corinth, may explain why he arrived “in much fear and trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3). No doubt moved by the Holy Spirit, in this new city the apostle would leave aside the rhetoric of human wisdom and simply proclaim “nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). 

Saint Paul spent more than a year and a half teaching in Corinth – in the period A.D. 50-52 (Acts 18:11). To begin with he stayed and worked with Aquila and Priscilla, a Christian couple who had been expelled from Rome shortly before, because of Claudius’ edict against the Jews (Acts 18:2). As was his custom, he preached, to begin with, in the synagogue – to Jews and Greeks who believed in the God of Israel (Acts 18:4). Later, because of the opposition he was meeting from Jews, he decided to concentrate on preaching to the Gentiles. At that point he changed his lodgings and stayed with Titus Justus, a Gentile who was living close to the synagogue and who may very well have been a convert to Judaism (Acts 18:6-7). 

Paul made many converts in Corinth – Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, being one of the most prominent (Acts 18:18) – but he had his share of setbacks as well. Once, our Lord appeared to him at night in a vision, to raise his spirits (Acts 18:9-10). Increasing opposition from Jews ultimately led to charges being brought against Paul to Gallio, the Roman proconsul; but Gallio gave the matter no importance because he saw it as a complicated Jewish religious squabble (Acts 18:12-17). There is documentary evidence – published in 1902 – in the form of an inscription found at Delphi recording that Gallio’s term of office in Achaia began in July, A.D. 51. This allows us to date fairly precisely the Apostle’s first stay in Corinth: he would have been brought for his appearance before Gallio in the early months of A.D. 52. He left Corinth shortly after this, taking ship with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:18). 

Approximately a year after this, there arrived in Corinth a man named Apollos, a very eloquent Jew of Alexandrian origin; he carried on the work Paul had begun (Acts 18:26-28; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6). 

To judge from the information Saint Paul provides in his letters, the Christian community at Corinth was one of his largest foundations. Seemingly, Christians of pagan birth were in the majority (1 Corinthians 12:2), most of them were educated and even well-to-do (1 Corinthians 1:26-29); it was a community of some considerable size, with all walks of life represented (1 Corinthians 11:2-6; 14:34-35). 

The perfect harmony that should have reigned among Christians because of their fellowship and unity in Christ has been shattered at Corinth. Chloe’s messengers informed Paul of the factions in the community. After he had left Corinth, other missionaries and Jewish Christians representing different movements that were agitating the Church came to the city. Apollos had made a strong impression on the better educated minority of the Corinthian Christians. Jewish Christians originally from Palestine or Syria boasted of their attachment to Cephas (Peter) and won a following among their Corinthian colleagues. The majority of the faithful, poor freedmen and slaves, incited by the pretensions of the other factions, boasted of their attachment to Paul, the Apostle of Corinth. Was there a fourth faction, a Christ party? Or is the cry “I belong to Christ” Paul’s personal protest against the factions in the community? Commentators show no agreement on these questions. Some see the Christ party as mystics who rejected all human teachers and claimed to be guided by revelations received directly from Christ through the charismatic gifts. Others think the Christ party were Judaizers who had known Christ during His earthly life and now challenged Paul’s apostolic authority. 

All this speculation aside, the basic idea which Paul teaches is that the Church is a supernatural entity; it has been founded by Christ, Christ is the head, and it is Christ who governs it through His ministers. 

10 I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

This appeal for unity is based on the Christian profession of faith. 

that all of you agree in what you say,

“Agree in what you say” is a common Greek expression which does not refer to agreement in words only, but means “to be in perfect agreement.” 

and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 

Being “united” suggests a mutual adjustment and adaptation, a readiness to give in to one another in the interests of harmony. Christians must be united in their thinking and in the goal and direction of their lives. 

“The visible Church is a mixed body, consisting of both righteous and unrighteous people. This is why Paul praises some of its members and criticizes others. The person who agrees with the right doctrine and the Church’s teaching concerning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as with the dispensation concerning us, with resurrection and judgment, and who follows the rules of the Church is not in schism.” [Theodoret of Cyr (ca. A.D. 435), Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of Paul, 1 Corinthians 1,4] 

11    For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.

The disagreements have reached the point of recrimination and sharp language. 

12    I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Kephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”

“Kephas” is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic Kepha which means “rock”. He is referring to Peter (Matthew 16:18). There is no evidence that Peter had ever visited Corinth before this epistle was written. 

“In reality the Corinthians called themselves after other teachers, but Paul uses his own name and that of Apollos and Peter in order to make his point. By adding the name of Christ to the rest, he showed them how ridiculous the whole conflict was.” [Theodoret of Cyr (ca. A.D. 435), Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of Paul, 1 Corinthians 3,5] 

13    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. 

Factions founded on attachment to ministers of Christ involve a dogmatic absurdity. Paul indicates this with a biting sarcasm. There is only one Savior, Christ who died on the cross, into whom men are incorporated by baptism, no matter who administers it. 

“Whenever Paul uses rhetorical questions, as he does here, he implies that the whole argument is absurd.” [Saint John Chrysostom (A.D. 392), Homilies on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 3,5] 

Gospel - Matthew 4:12-23

In the interval between last week’s reading and the one we hear this week, Jesus has spent 40 days in the desert; at the end of which He is tempted by the Devil. Overcoming the temptations, He begins His public ministry. 

12    When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 

The complete account of the imprisonment of John the Baptist is given in Matthew 14:1-12. All the synoptic gospels and John agree that Jesus did not begin His own proclamation until John had been imprisoned by Herod Antiapas. Jesus’ move to Galilee has been understood both as a courageous taking up of His mission and as a move to greater safety. 

13    He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 

Capernaum is near the northern end of the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Matthew notes that Capernaum lays in the old tribal territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. This allows him to cite our first reading. Isaiah’s promise of liberation Matthew sees fulfilled by Jesus’ arrival. 

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death  light has arisen.” 17 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, 

This inaugurates Jesus’ ministry. 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

The message of repentance was the theme of John the Baptist. It becomes the central message of Jesus and, along with the resurrection, the basis and object of Christian hope. 

18    As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called 
Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; 

Matthew anticipates Jesus’ later renaming Simon as Peter (Greek: Petros, Aramaic: Kepha). 

they were fishermen. 

The Galilean fishing industry was quite prosperous and exported its products. 

19    He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 

“Come after me” is technical language of a teacher to disciples but Jesus goes beyond the normal learner - teacher relationship by taking the initiative. To become a disciple they must literally “come after” Him, walking behind Him in His footsteps. Gathering disciples is the closest Jesus comes to founding a Church before the crucifixion. 

20    At once they left their nets and followed him. 

Jesus expected, and got, a radical and prompt obedience from His followers. Later traditions look at the nets as a symbol of worldly entanglements. 

21    He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

Note that followers of Jesus can sometimes mean rupturing family ties, yet Jesus opposes neglect of parents in their old age (Matthew 15:4-6). To be a follower means changing your life. 

23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. 

A summary report of Jesus’ ministry. The important item, “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdo m”, is in the middle – a literary device called a “sandwich.” 


Meditation: From darkness and death to light and life
Do you know the joy and freedom of the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom of God? John the Baptist's enemies had sought to silence him, but the good news of God's kingdom of salvation cannot be silenced. As soon as John had finished his testimony Jesus began his in Galilee. Galilee was at the crossroads of the world and much traffic passed through this little region. It had been assigned to the tribes of Asher, Naptali and Zebulum when the Israelites first came into the land (see Joshua 9). For a long time it had been under Gentile occupation (non-Jewish nations). 
Jesus brings the light and truth of salvation to the world
The prophet Isaiah foretold that the good news of salvation would reach Jews and Gentiles in the "land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations" (Isaiah 9:1). Jesus begins the proclamation of the Gospel here to fulfill the word of God. The Old Testament prophets spoke of God’s promise to send a Redeemer who would establish God's rule. That time is now fulfilled in Jesus who brings the light and truth of the Gospel to the world.
The "good news" brings peace, hope, truth, promise, immortality, and salvation
Jesus takes up John's message of repentance and calls his hearers to believe in the good news he has come to deliver. What is the good news which Jesus brings? It is the good news of peace - the Lord comes to reconcile and restore us to friendship with God. The good news of  hope - the Lord comes to dwell with us and to give us a home with him in his heavenly kingdom. The good news of  truth - the Lord Jesus sets us free from the lies and deception of Satan and opens our mind to understand the truth and revelation of God's word (John 8:32). The good news of promise - Jesus fulfills the promise of God to reward those who seek him with the treasure of heaven. The good news of immortality - Jesus overcomes sin and death for us in order to raise our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body which will never die again. And the good news of salvation - the Lord Jesus delivers us from every fear, every sin, and every obstacle that would keep us from entering his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.  
The Gospel is the power and the wisdom of God - both power to change and transform our lives and wisdom to show us how to live as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the Lord makes it possible for us to receive his word with faith and to act upon it with trust and obedience.
The Gospel demands a response of faith and obedience to God's gift of salvation
In announcing the good news, Jesus makes two demands: repent and believe! Repentance requires a change of course - a turning away from sin and disobedience and a turning towards the Lord with faith and submission to his word of truth and righteousness (right living according to God's truth and moral goodness). The Holy Spirit gives us a repentant heart, a true sorrow and hatred for sin and its bad consequences (the wages of sin is death - Romans 6:23), and a firm resolution to avoid whatever would lead us into sin. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to see our sin for what it is - rebellion and a rejection of the love of God. God's grace helps us to turn away from all that would keep us from his love. 
We believe, hope, and love Him because He loved us first and drew us to Himself
Faith or belief is an entirely free gift which God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and makes it possible for us to accept and to grow in our understanding of the truth. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we can know God personally and the truth he reveals to us through his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior is to accept God's revelation of his Son as the eternal Word of God and the Redeemer who delivers us from the tyranny of sin, Satan, and death. Out of his great love for us God the Father made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to atone for our sins and to bring us back to himself. 
Do you want to grow in the knowledge of God's love and truth? Ask the Holy Spirit to renew in you the gift of faith, the love of wisdom, and the heart of a disciple who desires to follow the Lord Jesus and his will for your life.  
"Lord Jesus, your ways are life and light!  Let your word penetrate my heart and transform my mind that I may see your power and glory. Help me to choose your ways and to do what is pleasing to you."

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe true light of revelation to the Gentiles, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
"The Evangelist commemorated in this passage the prophet's words: 'Beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light' (Matthew 4:15-16) In what darkness? Certainly in the profound error of ignorance. What great light did they see? The light concerning which it is written: 'He was the true light that illumines everyone who comes into this world' (John 1:9) This was the light about which the just man Simeon in the Gospel declared, 'A light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel' (Luke 2:32). That light had arisen according to what David had announced, saying, 'A light has arisen in the darkness to the upright of heart' (Psalm 112:4). 
"Also, Isaiah demonstrated that light about to come for the enlightenment of the church when he said, 'Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you' (Isaiah 60:1). Concerning that light also Daniel noted, 'It reveals the profound and hidden things, knowing those things which are in darkness and the light is with it' (Daniel 2:22), that is, the Son with the Father, for even as the Father is light, so too is the Son light. And David also speaks in the psalm: 'In your light shall we see light' (Psalm 36:9), for the Father is seen in the Son, as the Lord tells us in the Gospel: 'Who sees me, sees the Father' (John 14:9) From the true light, indeed, the true light proceeded, and from the invisible the visible. “He is the image of the invisible God,” as the apostle notes (Colossians 1:15)." (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 15.1)

THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, MATTHEW 4:12-23 or 4:12-17

(Isaiah 8:23 ― 9:3; Psalm 27; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17)

KEY VERSE: "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people" (v 19).
TO KNOW: When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been arrested by Herod Antipas, he withdrew from Nazareth (in the region of Zebulon), and moved north to Capernaum (in the region of Naphtali). Matthew saw this move as fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy that a "great light" would shine in darkness of this land (Is 8:23-9:1). The northern territory of these two "brothers" (tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali) was the first to fall during the Assyrian invasion (733-32 BCE). The area was repopulated by Gentiles (2 Kgs 17:24), and thereafter was considered heathen by devout Jews in Judah in the south. Jesus called two pair of brothers as his first disciples: Peter and Andrew, and James and John, who responded "immediately" (v 20). Discipleship was more than being instructed by the master. Jesus called his disciples to share an intimate relationship with him, by learning from his example, participating in his mission and being dedicated to him to the point of death. These first disciples were totally committed as they left home, family and work in order to follow Jesus. These were only the first steps on a long and difficult road.
TO LOVE: Does the light of God's reign shine through me?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me be an instrument to bring others to you.




Sunday 22 January 2017

Sun 22nd. 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3. The Lord is my light and my salvation—Ps 26(27):1, 4, 13-14. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17. Matthew 4:12-23.
'They immediately left their nets and followed him.'
I have trouble picturing the call of the disciples as Jesus walked along the shore of Galilee. When Jesus addresses Peter, Andrew, James and John with the simple command, 'follow me', their response is to 'immediately' leave their nets and follow. Not one of them questions 'why', nor stops to ask 'wait, who are you?' Their response is dramatic, and presents the all or nothing nature of God's call to each of us. While I don't advocate rushing into big decisions, it is always worthwhile to examine those thoughts that seem to enter our minds from out of left field. Holding them up to the light of discernment, we can, over the course of our lives learn the language that God uses to speak to us, to call us out of ourselves and into the world in order to further build his kingdom.

ST. VINCENT

St. Vincent was Deacon of Saragossa, and a martyr under Diocletian in 304. This most renowned martyr of Spain is represented in the dalmatic of a deacon, and has as emblems a cross, a raven, a grate, or a fire-pile. He is honored as patron in Valencia, Saragossa and Portugal.
He was born at Saragossa to Eutricius, his father, and Enola, his mother, who was a native of Osca. Under the direction of Valerius, Bishop of Sargossa, Vincent made great progress in his studies. He was ordained a deacon and commissioned to do the preaching in the diocese since the bishop at the time had a speech impedement.
By order of Governor Dacian, Vincent and his bishop were dragged in chains to Valencia and kept in prison there for a long time. Then Valerius was banished, but Vincent was subjected to many cruel torments including the rack, the gridiron, and scourgings. After suffering these, he was again imprisoned in a cell strewn with potsherds. He was then placed in a soft and luxurious bed, to shake his constancy, but there he expired.
His body was thrown to be devoured by vultures, but it was defended by a raven. Dacian then had the body cast into the sea, but it came to shore and was buried by a pious widow. After peace was restored to the Church, a chapel was built over Vincent's remains outside the walls of Valencia.

LECTIO DIVINA: 3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (A)
Lectio Divina: 
 Sunday, January 22, 2017

The beginning of the proclamation of the Good News
 and the call of the first disciples
 Matthew 4:12-23
1. OPENING PRAYER
In the darkness of a starless night,
a night of no sense,
you, the Word of life,
like lightning in the storm of forgetfulness,
entered within the bounds of doubt
under cover of the limits of precariousness
to hide the light.
Words made of silence and of the ordinary,
your human words, heralds of the secrets of the Most High:
like hooks cast into the waters of death
to find man once more, immersed in his anxious follies,
and reclaim him, plundered, through the attractive radiance of forgiveness.
To you, Ocean of Peace and shadow of eternal Glory, 
I render thanks:
Calm waters on my shore that awaits the wave, I wish to seek you!
And may the friendship of the brothers protect me 
when night falls on my desire for you. Amen.

2. READING
a) The text:
12 Hearing that John had been arrested he withdrew to Galilee, 13 and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, beside the lake, on the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali. 14 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 15 Land of Zebulon! Land of Naphtali! Way of the sea beyond Jordan. Galilee of the nations! 16 The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a country of shadow dark as death a light has dawned. 17 From then onwards Jesus began his proclamation with the message, 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' 18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.' 20 And at once they left their nets and followed him. 21 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. 22 And at once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him. 23 He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and illness among the people.
b) A moment of silence:
Let us allow the voice of the Word to resonate within us.
3. MEDITATION
a) Questions for reflection:
- Jesus settled by the sea: the Son of God settled beside human beings. The sea, this mysterious and boundless world, as immense in its horizon as the heavens are; the one reflected in the other, bordering on each other, distinct, a mutual reflection of calm and peace. Jesus, land of God, comes to live by the sea and becomes land of humankind. Shall we go and live beside God as the Word was before he came to us? Or is our fragile life in the flesh sufficient for us?
- The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light: immersed in darkness, men and women live their days in resigned pain and without the hope of anything changing for them. The world where faith is denied is a world immersed in darkness until light comes into it. Christ, the light of nations, has come into the world and darkness has dissipated so that the light might shine. Has the darkness within us dissipated?
- They left their nets at once and followed him. At once. Left. Followed. Difficult words for our way of life. To respond to God: yes, but calmly. To leave whatever we are doing for the Lord: yes, but first we must think well. How would it be if we did as the Apostles did: at once, left everything, followed Him? 
b) A key to the reading:
The God of the universe who created heaven and earth with his Word alone, leaves his dwelling place and comes to live beside the sea in a foreign land, to speak the language of earth so that heaven may be made known. The Son of man, too, the master from Nazareth, leaves the home of his youth to go to the Galilee of the peoples beyond the Jordan. The darkness of ignorance that flickers across the centuries is pierced by a great light. The shadows of death hear words that open new ways and new life: «Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near». To change itinerary, to come close to the light is not something strange for those who are familiar with the presence of the Most High. Because the eyes get used to the presence and the human heart easily forgets the past darkness when it is enjoying splendour. Repent. How? Human relationship becomes the new way along the sea-shore. There are brothers along the shore, pairs of brothers: Simon and Andrew, James and John. God does not come to break these relationships, but takes them up so as to fish in a new more shining life, in his life and his sea. 
As he was walking… The way is a great secret of the spiritual life. We are not called to stand still, but for us also to go by the sea, the sea of the world where people are the fish, immersed in bitter, salty and inhuman waters. Fishers of men. One cannot fish without the net of love, without a father who guards the boat, without a boat to launch into the deep. The net of human relationships is the only possible weapon of evangelisers, because with love we can go on a great fishing expedition, and love must not only be proclaimed but brought. To be called in pairs means precisely this bringing of a visible, concrete love, the love of brothers who enjoy the same parents, the love in whose veins flows the same blood, the same life. 
Follow me… to call others to walk, fish and witness. The nets break, but every fisherman is capable of repairing a broken net. Love is not a knick-knack that is broken with use! The art of accommodation makes precious every possible relationship among people. What matters is going, trusting in that new name, always and still called LIFE. 
Those called, go and follow Jesus. But where does Jesus go? He walks all over Galilee, teaches in the synagogues, preaches the good news of the kingdom, heals all kinds of diseases and infirmities of the people. Every sea person, apostle of the Kingdom, will act like Jesus: will walk the ways of the world and stop in the market places of people, will tell the good news of God and will take care of the sick and infirm, will make visible the concern of the Father for each one of his sons and daughters. 
4. PRAYER (Is 43,1-21)
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the waters, I shall be with you; 
or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. 
Should you walk through fire, you will not suffer, 
and the flame will not burn you.
For I am Yahweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, 
your Saviour.
Since I regard you as precious, 
since you are honoured and I love you, 
I therefore give people in exchange for you, 
and nations in return for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
You yourselves are my witnesses,
declares Yahweh, 
and the servant whom I have chosen, 
so that you may know and believe me and understand that it is I. 
I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Saviour but me.
Thus says Yahweh, who made a way through the sea, 
a path in the raging waters,
No need to remember past events, 
no need to think about what was done before.
Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges; 
can you not see it? 
Yes, I am making a road in the desert and rivers in wastelands.
The people I have shaped for myself will broadcast my praises.
5. CONTEMPLATION
The waters of the sea that cover the earth, tell me of the flow of your life, Lord. When sky and sea blend at the horizon, it seems as if I am seeing all that you are being reloaded into our being. A flow that is a soft wave of presence and an unspeakable story of love, made up of names, events, ages, secrets, placid emotions and unforeseen troubles, a story made up of lights and grey times, of enthusiasms and calm drowsiness. This sea that is humanity invaded by your peace, contains words without end, the words of your Word who wanted profoundly to take on the vest of the sand of time. How many words on the shores and ocean beds that are silently gathered, if only I am disposed to listen, your words that the waves of life bring to shore and that are roads for navigators, ancient and new words, words never forgotten and words wrapped in mystery. Lord, may the waves of humanity not sweep me away, but may they become trails of communion for the fragile boat of my journey. May I learn from you to launch into the deep to fish in the dark nights of the human story, when the fish are more prone to allow themselves to be caught. At your word, my God, I will cast the nets, and when I bring the boats to shore, I will go on following the footsteps you have left on the shore of history, when you chose to clothe yourself with our muddy clothes.