Scripture: Matthew 4:12-17
Key verse: (16) “…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.”
Reflection: A few years ago I was blessed to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We spent our first week in Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, not far the ruins of what was once Capernaum. I never realized how much of the gospel took place in this rural area until we spent extended time there, reading the gospel stories in the places where they unfolded. It was a delightful week in a serene and calm setting—much different than the second week in the craziness of Jerusalem. We could understand how hard it must have been for Jesus to leave the serene country side and head to the big city.
Yet Capernaum was apparently not that beautiful, serene place in the first century. In fact, Matthew invokes Isaiah’s words to describe it as “a place of darkness,” “the region of shadow and death.” Why? Because life was incredibly hard in that time and in that place. They lived under the harsh rule of Rome. Nothing was their own. It is from this place of darkness that the light of God in Christ comes forth.
Perhaps it takes darkness for us to see light. Perhaps we can only welcome light when we sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Light certainly comes as good news when you find yourself in the dark. Thanks be to God for light that shines when the darkness defines too much of our lives.
Prayer: Let your light shine this day in the dark places of our world this day, be they in our world, in our communities, or within the shadows of our hearts. Amen.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].