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By Terrance Klein

Jan 19 2023

A Homily for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9: 3 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17 Matthew 4:12-23

No one likes to pay taxes, but most of us receive one undebatable benefit from them. Tax rolls will be the only quasi-indelible record of our existence. Until the rise of the nation-state and its concomitant taxes, most people passed through history without a trace. Even their names are lost to us.

This makes every glimpse we have of those known to history more precious. Consider, for example, those who have only ever lived in the Mediterranean world, the place where modern Western history arose. What we know of those past souls is equivalent to what we would learn today if we tried to explore that same world by way of flashlight. Caesar left us his military exploits. Plato recorded the ideas of Socrates. But we really know nothing of these men. Deeds and ideas are not emotions, desires, joys or sorrows.

St. Matthew records,

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men”
At once they left their nets and followed him (4:18-20).

The same passage yields two more names, James and John, but the evangelists have no interest in the biographies of these men. The Gospels are not even biographies of Jesus of Nazareth, so little concerned are they with the details of his life.


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