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Sunday, January 22, 2017

A People Who Walked in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light!

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jan 22, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today begins the ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It takes place immediately after the arrest of John the Baptist. (Matthew 4:12-17)  Our Lord Jesus appears on the scene
with His first sermon which was both brief and bold: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

My brothers and sisters, as we reflect on these words of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us allow them to ring loudly in our hearts. These are the first words Jesus spoke in his public ministry. They are the most important words for every Christian to follow.

Ever since humanity fell through original
sin, God has been calling us to repent, turn away from sin,and follow His commandments. The reality is that sin has brought darkness into our world. We hear of these effects in the reading from Isaiah 8:23-9:3 today, where the Israelites are experiencing a turbulent period in the 8th Century B.C. 

About 100 years previously, Assyria had invaded the northern kingdom of Israel. Some were carried into exile while others were subjected to great oppression.The Assyrians ravaged the whole place. They were so
wicked that they even destroyed trees, turning the land in to a desert. 

The people had rebelled agains the laws of God. That was the reason for Israel's utter devastation. But, God does not forsake His promises. He has come to fulfil His promise through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Light of the World.  
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian." (Isaiah 9:1-3)

Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. He is coming again to establish the fullness of His kingdom on earth. Yet, until our Lord comes again, we must turn our lives over to God and seek repentance because
our world will go through more difficult times because of sin.

What is most important is the salvation of our souls.  For, our society will pass away. Our nation will pass away.  But our souls live forever. Therefore, we need to take seriously Our Lord’s call to repentance! 

My brothers and sisters, we are living in sinful times. Darkness has enveloped not only our country, but darkness has enveloped the entire world! Many people are living in darkness and are in danger of losing eternal life. 

This year we celebrate the 100thAnniversary of our Blessed Mother’s message at Fatima. She warned us about these times. Yet, our Blessed Mother has also promised us that in the end Her Immaculate Heart will
triumph! For, Our Lord Jesus is coming again! When He comes, there will be no more war,  violence, hatred, or selfishness. There will be no more immorality, no pornography, no child murder, no divorce or anything that is not of God. For, the Light of Christ will overcome the darkness of the world. 

Therefore, let us not take Our Lord's call for
Fr. John Paul Shea at his ordination
repentance for granted. Repent,
 turn away from sin! For, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. May Our Lord bless each one of us and help us.

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