As I sit trying to write for this week I find myself unfocused. In the last 15 minutes I have re-read the passages over and over, sent text messages, written emails, opened and closed numerous time-waster browser tabs, spaced out staring at the wall, and made a cup of coffee. Pretty much anything but the thing I am trying to corral myself into doing! However, this experience is also in line with the readings, as the core message we hear is our need to focus on Christ and our difficulties in doing so!
The prophet Isaiah’s message is a message of hope but is shadowed by remembrances of disaster. The lands of Zebulon and Naphtali were destroyed by outside invaders, who were believed to be the result of those people’s inattentiveness to the things of God. Yet the words of Isaiah remind us that when we lose focus on God, God does not lose focus on us!
Paul likewise is trying to address the problem of distractions within the church at Corinth. In that community there seems a great deal of infighting about who to listen to and follow. But in any Church community, that answer should be clear as Paul points out: You listen to Jesus. You follow HIM!
The Gospel shows us Jesus taking up residency in the same lands the prophet Isaiah said were covered in darkness. Jesus ministry is always invitational, calling us out of the things we busy ourselves with to spend time with Him, coming to know Him, so that we can go out and share Him! Jesus’ mission is one of unburdening us from ourselves.
The language in all three readings shows God’s desire to unburden us of distractions and focus us in on Himself. Indeed, our burdens and areas of darkness are so often things we impose on ourselves. Whether its despair, social drama, work obligations, or anything else in our lives, if our first focus is anything but Jesus, we’re in need of some realignment. The Good News we’ve heard this week is that God knows these difficulties and seeks to free us from them, so let us hand them over that we may set our sights upon the light!
Written by: Alex Craven, Family Faith Formation Coordinator