Community Word: Jesus Christ is the Light who leads us to the Truth.
Order: “Rise up… the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” (Is 60:1)
Christ is the Light of the world when He declared that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As we start the New Year, our community word tells us: Jesus Christ is the Light who leads us to the Truth. God gave us His Son, our Emmanuel and Savior, to manifest His immense love for us. During the month of January, salvation starts unfolding as Jesus reveals Himself to us, declaring God’s kingdom to all men of goodwill in Isaiah: “Rise up….the glory of the Lord shines upon you,” (Is 60:1).
The theme for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord is – We are led to the truth when we look to Jesus as our Redeemer. The magi of the east may have found a frail baby in a manger. But, led by the star of Bethlehem, they knew that this lovely infant is the promised Messiah whose light would shine over the darkness of the earth. Jesus continues to reveal Himself to us to this day and His light is our light of faith that brings us closer to God. The glory of God is in us and we are blessed beyond what we deserved in this promise: “… you shall be radiant at what you see… the wealth of nations shall be brought to you,” (Is 60:5).
We are led to the truth when we make Christ known to others. This is our theme for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. As Christian disciples, we are called to share the Good News as our way of spreading the Gospel of redemption. In the letter of Paul to the Corinthians, we are reminded of God’s promise: “Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him,” (1Cor 6:17). Thru constant prayer and deepening faith, we can grow in our relationship with the Lord and become one with Him. His thoughts become our thoughts and His ways become our ways. Our being becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit and we carry the fullness of Jesus Christ that will enable us to bring forth His truth and grace to others.
The theme for the Feast of Sto. Niño, a special feast celebrated in the Philippines, is – We are led to the truth when we accept the kingdom of God with a pure heart. We repeatedly hear of this beautiful passage from the gospel of Mark: “Let the children come to me…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” (Mk 10:14b). Sto. Nino feast day reminds us that Jesus came into the world as a helpless child. The message of the Gospel exhorts us to be childlike in our relationship with God – trusting, totally dependent and with purity of heart. We may likely forget and do otherwise, but God knows that it is a challenge for us to follow His ways. Yet, if we are obedient to His will “God may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of Him,” (Eph 1:17).
For the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (International Readings), the theme is – We are led to the truth when we respond to God’s call to be followers of Christ. God’s horizon is incomparably wider and far-reaching than ours. Just as Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him, He is also telling us to widen our horizon and embrace God’s vision for our lives. We need to continuously repent and die to our limited vision and lifestyles – “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” (Mk 1:15). We are reminded to be totally dependent in the Lord for everything. Obedience to Him brings us in the righteous path because “…the Lord shows sinners the way… and teaches the humble his way,” (Ps 26:8b-9).
Finally, our theme for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time is: We are led to the truth when we speak God’s word with authority. For Christians, Jesus is the ultimate authority, not only by the authority of His teachings and works, but more so by the authority of His life, death and resurrection as God’s Son who redeemed the world. Many witnessed how He healed the man in Capernaum by the authority given Him when commanded the devil, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Mk 1:25). There is no power greater than the power of God’s spoken word. When we believe that His word is our highest authority, we claim God’s promise to us – “I will raise up for them a prophet… and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him,” (Dt 18:18).
Father God, thank You for manifesting Your presence in Your Son, Jesus Christ, the Light who shines upon the darkness of our world. We have experienced His Light in our lives and we have been empowered and inspired to go out and share His Light to others. Continue to sustain us so that the Light of Jesus may remain forever in our hearts and in the hearts of many, guiding us through our dark moments and finally leading us to Your glory in eternity. This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.