Matthew 4:12-23
Walk in the Light
by Rev. Robert J. Wagner
Reprinted be permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"

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Matthew wrote to show that Christ was the
Messiah and fulfilled the Jewish prophecies.

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 Napthtali, 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 the 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."

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."  At once they left their nets and followed him.  He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their notes.  He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.  He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

We take the presence of light for granted in our lives because it is so accessible. When we want it, we flip a switch or push a button. We even have the problem of light pollution, where sometimes we need to pull down our shades to keep the light out, even at night.

This was not the case in the time of Jesus, when the only sources of light were the sun, the moon, the stars, and fire. Unlike today, darkness prevented many activities, like work and travel. There were no power plants or street lamps or light switches. The daylight provided the crops they would eat and the light that guided them through their daily routines and their livelihood. Because of its necessity for the life of the people in the time of Jesus, light was never taken for granted. When they heard that Jesus was the Light prophesied by Isaiah, it spoke to their hearts.

Even in this world where light is so available and so present, the necessity of the Light that is Jesus Christ is still the same. Without Him, there is no life, because without Him, there is no eternal life. The world around us often tries to convince us that we have no need of Jesus. It proposes alternatives to Him that may provide what this life defines as valuable, but do nothing to merit our eternal life. It is only through Jesus Christ that we find true life. May we always seek to discern our actions according to this precious Light!

The people of the time of Jesus also recognized that light was necessary to see clearly. To walk down a path in the dark was an invitation to stumble and fall. In the same way, Jesus Christ is the Light that leads us to truth, for through Him we can see past the confusion caused by the darkness of a world that too often tries to darken His light. Why? Because the truth shown by Jesus the Light may make us uncomfortable. St. John the Evangelist wrote, “The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil” (Jn 3:19). The light of God's truth often shows us things in our lives and the lives of others that we would rather ignore, preferring the darkness in which the blemishes and stains of sin remain hidden.

Yet we know that eventually all things will be illumined and made known when we meet the Light of the World face-to-face. With a mind turned towards eternity, our desire should be to walk in the Light and live in the Truth. That way, when we meet Our Lord, we may do so after a life formed by Him through the light of His teaching and His Church.

Jesus came as the Light to those who dwell in darkness. He did not need to come, but did so for our salvation. This brings us comfort when we are challenged by His teachings and those of His Church. It helps us to choose to remain in the light, know that will see what the Lord plans for us and our salvation. May our prayer always be that Christ is Our Light to guide our way in this life, so we may live in His truth and have life to the fullest, do His will more fruitfully and faithfully, and enjoy our eternal life with Him in the next.

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