Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2023!
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The Beatitudes: A New Meaning of Being Blessed
January 29, 2023

Jesus is the Light that destroys darkness;

the life that conquers death.

The Gospel reading for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is from the Gospel of Matthew 4:12-17.

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.”

Once Jesus enters a place or life of gloom, depression, and dejection, there is a drastic change in the situation. The source of suffering loses its sway at the entry of God, which happens in two ways: 1) the cause of suffering is uprooted and destroyed, or 2) the victims have the power and grace to move forward despite suffering. Either the arch-enemy’s plans for doom are shattered, or they will not have their intended effect on humans. The work of Jesus always begins with a call to change. This change is a shift from darkness to light, from death to life. Repentance is the correct response to the invitation of Jesus, and repentance induces a change in perception and action from which new life blooms. This is the work of grace working in those who encounter God. Jesus walked into the Land of Zebulun and Naphtali, and new life ensued. You and I are the Zebulun and Naphtali of today. Is there a gloom he cannot resolve? Is there a wound he cannot heal? Is there a past He cannot change?

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