The Third Sunday after the Epiphany [Proper 3] (Green)

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

 Readings   ISAIAH 9:1-4; PSALM 27:1, 5-13; 1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-18; MATTHEW 4:12-23

 Collect        Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 Alt 1            God of blazing light, through the power of the cross you shattered our darkness and set us free to live as your children. Give us courage and conviction, so that we may joyfully turn and follow you, led by the light that shines through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002) alt.

Alt 2           God of all people, you sent your Son into our shadowed world. May his dawning light give hope to the broken, the persecuted, the alien and the excluded, so that we might feel the kingdom drawing near and turn to follow him; through Jesus Christ, the morning star.

Prayers for an Inclusive Church (2009) alt.

Prayer over the Gifts

Loving God, before the world began you called us. Make holy all we offer you this day, and strengthen us in that calling. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.

 Prayer After Communion

Gracious God, our hands have taken holy things; our lives have been nourished by the body of your Son. May we who have eaten at this holy table be strengthened for service in your world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.

First Reading

8 am              THE FIRST LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 9TH CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH, BEGINNING AT THE 1ST VERSE.

10 am                        A READING FROM THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

8 am              THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10 am                        HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD.

ISAIAH 9:1-4

Psalm
PSALM
REFRAIN The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid? R

One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

To behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. R

For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock.

Even now he lifts up my head above my enemies round about me. R

Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with sounds of great gladness; I will sing and make music to the Lord. R

Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.

You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.” Your face, Lord, will I seek. R

Hide not your face from me, nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

You have been my helper; cast me not away; do not forsake me, O God of my salvation. R
PSALM 27:1, 5-13

Second Reading

8 am              THE EPISTLE LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE FIRST LETTER OF SAINT PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS , BEGINNING AT THE 10TH VERSE.

10 am           A READING FROM THE FIRST LETTER OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

8 am              THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10 am                        HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-18

Gospel

8 am              THE LORD BE WITH YOU.     AND WITH THY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY GOSPEL IS WRITTEN IN THE 4TH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW, BEGINNING AT THE 12TH VERSE.

GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD

10 am            THE LORD BE WITH YOU.                 AND ALSO WITH YOU.

THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW.

GLORY TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – 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.” From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.

8 am              PRAISE BE TO THEE, O CHRIST

10 am                        PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

MATTHEW 4:12-23

Sermon

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

AMEN

So, my father tried to teach me how to fish for fish. I disliked every minute of it, I’m afraid.

But, how do you fish for humanity?
It may be a very simple thing, really. Just as inhumanity repels us, genuine humanity attracts us.

When we are fishing for humanity, we are fishing for the best, the most noble qualities of a person to come to the surface and be a blessing to the world.

Notice that before he begins talking about fishing in this morning’s text, Jesus says his famous line, “Repent — turn your life around — for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near to you.” This is related to what he goes on to say about fishing for humanity.

The Kingdom of Heaven has come near. A real honest-to-goodness fully human being has come near in the person of Jesus, and the goodness of his humanity – His love, His compassion, His wisdom – is attracting people. The best in him is resonating with the best in them and it draws them closer to him. They want to embody what He has embodied to them.

But that is not the whole story. It’s relatively easy to want to be like Jesus. But as we draw closer to him we become aware of another powerful dynamic within us — the obstacles to becoming like him, the cost of becoming like him, the sacrifices involved.

I want to be like Jesus, but I also want everyone to like me.
I want to be like Jesus, but I don’t want to face the pain in my life or others’ lives. I want to be like Jesus, but at the same time I don’t want to change at all.
I’m ambivalent.

So how does Jesus respond to my ambivalence?

He just keeps fishing. He just keeps loving me, being patient and compassionate with me. He just continues being himself with me, until the obstacles in me begin to melt away, and I become willing to let go of whatever it is in the moment that holds me back from following him.

And then I am “hooked.”

I want to be his disciple.

And gradually, by being in his presence and following his counsel, he heals me of my inhumanity, and I experience some success at becoming more like him, more whole, more humane. Those little bits of success along the way are the key to fishing for humanity because through them I become a more attractive force in the world, in the image of the one who made me, the one who came among us to show the way, the one who was most human while being fully God.

I become more fully human in the model of Jesus.

And I begin to realize that Jesus is teaching me, like an apprentice.

I am learning how to do the same for others.

How to fish for humanity.

How to show others my humanity, so that it draws their own humanity closer to the surface. I am learning how to follow his example and draw on his grace and love you through the obstacles you face to becoming more fully human. In other words, I am learning how to love you as Jesus has loved me.

Will you walk beside me in this journey of discovery?

When I do that, I’m spreading the gospel, even though I never say the words, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.” I’m simply relating to others as Jesus has related, and continues to relate, to me.

Fishing for humanity is fun. It really is.

It’s always hard work, but it’s always meaningful and satisfying because through it we are fulfilling our primary vocation of making ourselves and our world more humane, more vibrant, warm and welcoming.

Potentially every moment of our lives can become a fishing trip in this spiritual sense.

The more we do it, the more success we experience at it, the more we want to do it. It becomes a way of life. And it’s a good life. As far as I can tell, it’s the best life there is.

Fish for humanity. Invite them on this journey toward our most humane selves with us.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen

Adapted from: https://www.academia.edu/30984858/FISHING_FOR_HUMANITY
Fr. Rishi Sativihari