Jesus opens our minds so that we may understand Scriptures. This understanding is crucial to our knowing and following Jesus.
God calls us out of pure mercy though we are weak and fall down easily (SV.EN IX:284). And it is on God’s infinite goodness that we rely to persevere. In other words, following Jesus, or doing anything good, for that matter, is due to God’s initiative and grace.
And so, it is Jesus who calls Peter and Andrew, and James and John. And doing their part, the four fishermen answer the call right away; they begin following him. They are really the first Christians, for being a Christian means, first of all, following Jesus Christ.
Following Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James and John and the others slowly but surely get to know Jesus up close. They also, of course, see the way he lives. He lives simply, trusting in Divine Providence and also in the goodness of others. So, he asks, seeks, knocks as he goes around, teaching, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and healing people.
And one important teaching that Jesus gives to his followers is that he will suffer, die and rise after three days. But they have a tough time understanding even though he teaches this three times. And they stay not understanding, and remain in fear and shock, when his prediction comes true. It is only when the risen Jesus opens their minds to Scriptures that they then come to understand.
Following Jesus means knowing him.
Pope Francis highlights the importance of Scriptures to our being Christians. And that is why for the first time we are holding today the Sunday of the Word of God. We need Jesus to take the initiative and open our minds to understand Scriptures in depth.
But we also are to do our part. We must read Scriptures ourselves, aware that not to know the Scriptures is not to know Christ. It is not enough to know Scriptures second-hand from others’ reading of them. Meeting the Jesus of Scriptures, we can better find out what he would do if he were in our place (see SV.EN XI:314).
Needless to say, not knowing Jesus, we run the risk of following the wrong Jesus. We may even find shocking that Jesus gives his body up and sheds his blood. And we may end up looking at the Mass as a rite that magically calls up “the god from the machine.”
Lord Jesus, your word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Grant that, following you, we may bring Good News to the poor and light to those in darkness. Make us also your tools of forgiveness, healing, unity and peace.
26 January 2020
3rd Sunday in O.T. (A)
Is 8, 23 – 9, 3; 1 Cor 1, 10-13. 17; Mt 4, 12-23
Tags: A Vincentian reading of the Sunday readings, Ross Dizon