Jan. 22, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
1) Isaiah 8:23-9:3
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
2) 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
In my work as the Catholic campus minister at a large state school, I spend a lot of time commiserating with college students about their futures. Some come to the university with a definite plan. They know their major, the list and order of classes needed for their degree and what internships will best put them on track to reach their goals. But alas, such college students are the exception, not the rule.
According to National Center for Education Statistics, about 80 percent of students in the U.S. end up changing their major at least once and, on average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career. Yet even among students who are certain about their choice of major, many often do not know what kind of career they want to pursue after college.
These major-changing nomads of the halls of higher education are very much like the people described in today’s Scriptures: a people walking in darkness, longing for the light, any light!
While dark and directionless times are hard and often longer than four years of college, there is nothing like the look on a student’s face when he or she finally has some peace regarding the direction for his or her life. It’s as though this big, life-defining decision they have been waiting for, seemingly forever, has finally come and made a home within them.
I imagine it is this exact experience, taken to a transcendent level, that the first disciples felt when Jesus asked them to follow him. They had been waiting, not just for their whole lives, but with the entire nation of Israel, they had been waiting for centuries. They had wandered in spiritual darkness all this time and finally the Light had come.
When the darkness is so deep and has lasted for so long, the light is especially bright. It is this circumstance that fueled the scene in Matthew’s Gospel: “(Jesus) called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.”
Whether we are seeking direction in this life or directions to the next life, we all experience times of darkness, but as the psalmist says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?”
When was a time of darkness that you have come through? What is something you have left behind to follow Jesus?