Fr Peter Beck presided and Simon Green preached at the 10am Mass. The Gospel reading was taken from Matthew 4: 12-23.

Read on for the sermon.


In the region and shadow of death, light has dawned…

New Year resolutions… I wonder how many of you made them? And how many of you have already broken them? Did you intend to remove something from your life or to add something to it?

How about this for a resolution, Focus on Christ, seek God’s Wisdom, Spread the light!

In Mathews Gospel account we heard about the start of Jesus ministry, and his calling of the disciples Andrew and Peter.

Notice how Mathew is constantly referring back to the Hebrew prophets as he proclaims, that Jesus is, the long-awaited messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

Today’s Gospel reading is no different. Matthew tells us that when John the Baptist is arrested Jesus leaves Nazareth and moves to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee and then Mathew uses that spoken by the Prophet Isaiah.

“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea” and Mathew then continues “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned”.

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

After the death of King Solomon around 930 BC the Kingdom split north and south. In the South the Kingdom of Judah and in the North the Kingdom Israel. Zebulun and Naphtali were two tribes of Jacobs sons that with Samaria formed this northern Kingdom. This kingdom had been smashed by the Assyrians so the Jewish population was in the minority, “Galilee of the Gentiles” or as in Isaiah “Galilee of the nations”. For Isaiah’s audience heading out of the shadow of death into the light would have been, freedom from their conquerors, to be able return to their homes and live in peace in God’s presence. For Mathew, as we know Jesus is the liberator, the liberator from the shadow of death, into the light.

This was the area “Galilee of the Gentiles” that Jesus began his Ministry as he proclaimed “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.” Literally... the incarnate one, the Word, the light of the World, Jesus Christ is here…

Mathew, makes it clear through the use of the Prophet Isaiah that the teaching and wisdom of Jesus is the source of that light.

Personally, I love the metaphor of light, the imagery that we are given, the joy of light, the warmth of light, the clarity if gives, the shear beauty as can see clearly here today as it pours into this wonderful building.

Though the teachings of Jesus, we seek Wisdom to be in the light. Through the love we receive, we are bearers of that light, Christs love, as members of Christs Church.

Isn’t it interesting that often in “the darkness” we think that we are in the light… when life seems good, we seem to have everything we need, often something is missing, the true light! As Christians we seek the true light, a loving relationship with God and our neighbor.

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

We heard in today’s second reading that Paul is frustrated and upset that the Church of Corinth had divided. That the Church had split around their leaders’ egos, making their own groups rather than remaining united and focused on Christ. Focused on the light, Christs Wisdom through his teachings, his gift of love.

Notice that Paul is calling for unity not conformity. We are all different from each other, we have been created in diversity, diversity is celebrated but if we are truly focused on our relationship with our Lord, then we will be united as we seek the light rather than being in rivalry with others. Paul is crystal clear that the Gospel and its message about the Cross is for those who are heading towards the light, the power of God.

The truth is, Christ is always with us. When we focus on what is truly important, our love for God and our love for our neighbor, we realize Jesus has been with us all along. While we have been blundering along through life, when we turn to focus on the light, we find that Jesus has been with us all along, but that our ego, the distractions and temptations, that we all have in our lives has kept us in the darkness. Every step of the way Christs loving presence is with us, especially in the times which we really feel like we are in the darkness, when we feel there is no light, Christ is with us and shares our suffering.

The light is far more than a distant goal, we are in the presence of God’s love now. Our focus must be on the Wisdom to keep our hearts open to that love, to bask in the light and allow that light, God’s Love to glow out from us into the world.

Just as Paul says, let go of ego, focus on the Light, the Wisdom, the Love.

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

In today’s psalm we heard “the Lord is my light and my salvation” followed by “the one thing I will ask of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my Life”

What a statement, “the Lord is my light and my salvation”, what a plea “the one thing I will ask of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my Life”

With this in our minds, when Jesus calls his first disciples, the brothers Peter and Andrew, surely, we can understand the immediacy of their response. Their desire to seek the wisdom, to be closer to the God of love. Just as the first disciples recognized that the Kingdom of heaven was near so do, we, when we witness the Gods unconditional love for all.

Through our Baptism and our individual faith journeys we have joined the Christian story. We focus on Christ, we seek God’s Wisdom, to spread the light

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

How do you follow? How do you act out your discipleship? How do we become more Christ like? How do we seek the light.?

If your anything like me, my discipleship is a bit like that game that you play as a child searching for the lollie, … or as more mature child searching for the car keys or reading glasses…. You know the one… being close to the object we are looking for is “boiling” and the further away we are from that object the “colder” we are. “Hotter, hotter, hotter, boiling! The anticipation and excitement of “boiling”, finding those keys…. Wow!

Sometimes I’m the active seeker getting hotter and hotter as I seek to strengthen my relationship with our Lord. But then there are those other times when my ego (just like those Paul is addressing in the Church of Corinth) gets in the way. When I am more concerned with myself than with my relationship with God or others. I have spent plenty of time blundering around tripping over thinking I was in the light. But we know that whenever we repent, change our mind, amend our ways, turn away from past sins, turn towards the light we are forgiven and welcomed to a closer in relationship in the light, with the loving God who is love. …. The Loving God who is Love.

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

As a disciple of Christ, an apprentice seeking to become more Christ like, I think of the light, the love of God as a spark within and a blaze surrounding everyone. The light within me shines more brightly, the glow gets bigger the more I seek Gods wisdom. How do we witness this light? As our love for each other…as agents of that light

Christian communities are called to live in a way that is the light to the world, a community that is not in rivalry but united in love. We need to radiate light so that the darkness becomes obvious, this light, the love that we are blessed with is the Kingdom of Heaven that has come near. We witness this love as our love for others…. This is the Christian hope, that which has already begun, that the light will overcome all darkness. We pray for this in The Lord’s Prayer “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

We wait in anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom on Earth. Each of us and our Church community are called to seek the light, the true wisdom. To be in some way a model of a place where heaven is on earth. We seek the wisdom of the light, God’s wisdom when we, pray and worship, study the scriptures, participate in the liturgy, and in silence and stillness.

Rather than trying to fulfill a number of criteria or boxes ticked, we focus on something far greater, the light. The wisdom we gain through Christs teachings forms us, as carriers of the light, we need to share that light the gift of love. Love for all, and that Love is God’s Love, God is love.

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…

Today as we gather here in community and are immersed in the Liturgy, we seek Wisdom within mystery. The Wisdom leads us to Christs sustaining table, and we leave with the mission, to spread the light,

Focus on Christ, seek God’s Wisdom, Spread the light!

Now that’s a resolution worth keeping!

In the region and shadow of death light has dawned…


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