The First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. The prophet blamed the defeat of the two provinces of Zebulum and Nephtali on the people of Israel. He considered it to be God’s punishment for their unfaithfulness and wickedness in abandoning God in favor of riches from trade. Isaiah seeks to offer words of hope and consolation to a people experiencing the darkness of oppression. “A new light will shine on a people living in a land of gloom.”
The Second Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. Paul addresses a major problem in the Corinthian community: lack of unity which is a form of spiritual darkness. They have all been baptized into the same Christ, so there can be only one loyalty—loyalty to Christ. “Can Christ be divided?” Surely not. Since communion with Christ is at the heart of their faith, believers should agree in what they say and be united in heart, mind and judgment, and to share a common purpose. In the Gospel Reading, from the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus is a light for all to see and experience, including a region mainly occupied by Gentules. Jesus is the new Light shining on a land and people in darkness. Then we have Jesus’ call to repentance, which is a call for a new mind and heart, a new hearing and a new radical response to God’s Word. The call of the first four apostles is a concrete example of individuals hearing God’s call and responding to it with total commitment. Jesus sees himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.