January 22, 2017 — Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The prophet Isaiah again records a remarkable prophecy in our First Reading from the Book of Isaiah. Within the context of that Scriptural reading Isaiah says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Just prior to that Isaiah speaks of two areas of Israel that are also the names of two of the twelve tribes of Israel — Zebulon and Naphtali. These tribes were located at the northern end of Israel adjacent to the Sea of Galilee.
When the Assyrians invaded and occupied Israel, it was the northern tribes like Zebulon and Naphtali that suffered the most. It was they on whom the greatest gloom and darkness descended. However, the prophecy speaks of the coming of the Messiah, the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. Thus, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
Christ is still the light of the world, and He still provides this light and hope to those of us who may feel like we are in darkness and distress. We must embrace Him nonetheless and follow His way by becoming His disciple. If we do that, our lives will indeed be filled with light and great rejoicing. It is up to us to respond. In John 8:12, the Lord tells us, “I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in dark, but will have the light of life.”