Third Sunday of the Year

Beginning the Journey with Matthew

This year of 2017, will see us walk our pathway of discipleship with Matthew as our evangelist. The three yearly cycle of the Lectionary is a treasure, since it allows our minds to develop a relationship with each gospel writer in their turn. For a whole year, we will read from one gospel, be it Matthew, Mark or Luke (interspersed with St John) and we will make friends with Jesus through the way that each of them present to us a different con- text through which to learn about Jesus Christ. And because a whole year is devoted to each gospel, by the time the cycle be- gins again, thee years will have passed. Three years in which no doubt, important and dramatic things may have happened to us or to our loved ones. Three years in which our lives will have moved forwards with new experiences, since we will, in that time, have forged new relationships and lived through new chal- lenges. And the gospels, if we have read them well, will have delivered their message to us with insight and knowledge. Of how, in the context of all that change, we are called to adapt our lives as disciples of Jesus. So we can honestly say that the con- text of our lives does have an impact on the way in which we listen to and respond to what we hear each Sunday.

Just how then will this gospel today shape us? The last time we read it was in 2014, and we can ask ourselves, knowing what has changed in my life in that time, how do I hear the words anew, speaking to me now. The story of the call of the disciples is always a moment of great anticipation and drama, and so do I feel the same anticipation and drama in my own life? Do the words of Jesus still stir me towards the great challenges that my life, as his follower, must explore? How will I meet them? Just what does discipleship mean to me now, and how can I live it out in all its joy and fullness? What am I able to leave behind today, which three years ago, would have been so much more difficult to do?

As we travel this year with Matthew, we will hear again all those familiar stories that we think we know so well. But sadly we can easily allow the gospel to pass us by. Instead let us seek to lis- ten to them with retuned ears. Let us apply their message to what is happening to us in our lives in the here and now, and let the call to follow him, be renewed and strengthened.

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