In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen (بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس إلهٍ واحد آمين).
In this gospel lesson of St. Matthew 4:12-17 we hear of Jesus leaving Nazareth after learning about St. John the Baptist being in prison. He eventually goes to Galilee and continues His start of His ministry. Galilee of the Gentiles, in verse 15 “Galilee of the Gentiles” means that Christ preached in the area of Galilee where Gentiles (the non-Jews) inhabited with the Jewish people. It was only later where these non-Jews eventually converted to Judaism. Regarding the people who sat in darkness in verse 16, they were the people who were unholy or ungodly. You might say these people who sat in darkness were obtuse when Jesus spoke of the Good News (the gospel), but those who sat in darkness are the same people who saw the Great Light. “Great Light” makes reference to the gospel preached by Christ whereby his message led to the light of Christianity, consequently when St. Matthew spoke of “light has dawn”, he is referring to Christ bringing to them the light of Christianity. In verse 17, Jesus talks about to repent, the same as St. John the Baptist who spoke of repentance. The important point to note here is to repent or to start a new lease on life which includes to turn your life to God (Jesus). In verse 17 we hear Jesus telling the people to “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Another point is St. John the Baptist preached also about repenting and said, “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now Christ comes to the people to say that the Kingdom is at hand, thus God (Jesus), the Son of God, in fact is right in front of them.
As the new year begins for 2020, we hear of people making new year resolutions (such as losing weight, spending more time with the family, and buckling down in your studies to get better grades in school/college, etc.) All of these resolutions are awesome, but what about coming to church more often, and by putting Christ at the top of your list of resolutions? This Sunday’s gospel lesson was about Jesus preaching for people to repent. Think about it, when you come to church do you repent by going to confession so the priest can hear you confess your sins by repenting and taking that first step that will help you in order for you to come to confession? Remember, when you do come, keep in mind your priest is the intercessor for you with God, because when you do come to confess your sins you come with the presence of God, even when the priest tells you in the prayer of absolution, “I his unworthy Priest through the power given to me unto Him(Christ).” Do not be afraid or embarrassed to come to him (the priest), he’s there to help you to give you spiritual advice regarding your sins. Your confession is between God, you, and your father confessor. Finally, I mentioned in the gospel of St. Matthew regarding the Gentiles (the non-Jews) that Jesus preached to them. People wondered then and even today why Christ who was a Jew, preached to people that were not of His faith. I could tell you this, Jesus first preached to the Jews who were chosen by God to make ready for Christ’s coming, the Messiah. To answer this question of why he preached to them (which is not a profound question at all), our Lord died for everybody (Gentiles included), so even they can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if they the Gentiles, believe in Jesus as the Son of God (the Messiah).