One of the neatest things about the way that God speaks to us is the consistency of the message.This week, we hear of Isaiah’s prophesy of the light that will come in a time of darkness, Paul’s charge to be united, and the beginning of Jesus’ mission after John’s was completed.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Continuing on Isaiah’s theme of light last week, we hear God’s promise to Israel just as they were about to be attacked and destroyed, that all will not be lost in this dark time. The regions of Zebulun and Naphtali are mentioned in particular as places where, although things looked really bad for them at the time, there would be a time of peace–and even an experience of the Messiah.
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians continues as Paul reminds them that they need to be united in mind, spirit and mission. There is some rivalry about who was baptized by the more prestigious person, so Paul reminds them that they are all baptized in Christ and that’s the only thing that matters. People have a tendency to want to be associated with the “best”, but Paul brings it right down to the foundation–that our association is with Jesus and we need nothing more. If we can keep focused on that, we will all be united as Christ intends us to be.
The Gospel shows the fulfillment of the promise make to Israel in Isaiah’s prophesy in the first reading. Jesus went to the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali and shared the good news with them. When John is arrested, Jesus picks up the mission that he began and Jesus uses the same words that John used; “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” They both had the same message, which is the message that God had been giving humanity since the beginning of our relationship with God. Now, since John’s mission was completed, Jesus begins to pick his team. Right away he chooses two sets of brothers; Simon and Andrew and James and John to learn from him to cast their nets and bring people closer to God.
What is the worst or scariest thing that has ever happened to you? Who was there to tell you that everything would be alright? Did you believe them? Was it alright? Did anything good happen in that bad time?
When Jesus called the two sets of brothers to become “fishers of men”, they drop everything and go with him. If Jesus approached you and asked you to drop everything to spread God’s message, do you think you’d go? What reservations would you have? Are there any ways that you are currently a “fisher of men”?
It can be very difficult in the best circumstances to be perfectly united with the people in your life. Parenting is hard, work situations can be hard, team situations can be hard, Church situations can be hard. How does remembering that your foundation is in Christ help you to be unified in those tough circumstances? How has being unified helped you to deal with tough times in the past?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”