Sunday, January 22, 2017 Third Sunday after Epiphany / Lectionary 3 Introduction
Jesus begins his public ministry by calling fishers to leave their nets and follow him. In Jesus the kingdom of God has come near. We who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. We see this light most profoundly in the cross—as God suffers with us and all who are oppressed by sickness, sin, or evil. Light dawns for us as we gather around the word, the font, and the holy table. We are then sent to share the good news that others may be “caught” in the net of God’s grace and mercy.
First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-4
The northern tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali experienced defeat, but they are assured that their condition will be reversed when God makes a light-filled appearance. The joy they will experience will resemble celebrations of great harvests, because God will deliver them from everything that diminishes or oppresses them. The people in the northern parts of Israel have experienced “gloom” and “darkness” because of the destruction wrought by Assyrian military forces. To these people, the prophet announces the shining of a great light of salvation.
Psalm: Psalm 27:1, 4-9
The Lord is my light and my salvation. (Ps. 27:1)
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Paul calls on the Corinthians to end their dissensions and share the unified outlook of the gospel. Discord arises when we forget that we belong not to human leaders or institutions but to Christ who was crucified for us. Indeed, the unifying word of the cross of Christ is the center of the gospel and the power of God’s salvation.
Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23
Jesus begins his public ministry shortly after John the Baptist is imprisoned by Herod. He proclaims the nearness of God’s reign and calls four fishermen to be his first disciples.