Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
January 22, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



The Lord, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew, and he called out to them: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Ps/. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands. Day unto day conveys the message, *and night unto night imparts the knowledge.






Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our
Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News
of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive
the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)

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 forever. Amen. (BCM)

First Reading Isaiah 8:23--9:3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

Responsorial Psalm 27:1,4,13-14


R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.



The nations shall revere your name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory. V. For the Lord has rebuilt Sion, and he shall appear in his glory.

The Gradual is taken from Psalm ci. In rebuilding Sion the Lord hath clothed himself with power and laid fear upon all the kings of the earth. (Schuster)

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

Gospel Acclamation




 The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad.

The alleluiatic verse is also from Psalm xcvi, which is a true hymn of triumph for the inauguration of the new Messianic kingdom, no longer merely national in character, like that of Israel, but truly universal and worldwide.

Gospel Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

Reflection Questions

Where do you see light shining in a land of deep darkness

What strategies do you employ for dealing with the dissensions in your own life or community?

What nets are you being called to leave behind at this time in order to follow the Lord?

Catena Nova

Let none of us who see other people giving up great possessions say to ourselves, ‘I should like to imitate people like these who have such contempt for the world, but I have nothing to give up.’ You give up much if you give up the desire to possess. The Lord looks at your heart, not your fortune; he considers the love that prompts your offering, not its amount. If we’re going to weigh material goods, our holy traders gave their nets and boats to purchase the eternal life of the angels. The real value of that is beyond price, but for you its price is just what you possess…. For Peter and Andrew it was worth the value of their nets and boat…. As I said, the kingdom of God costs whatever you have. (Pope St. Gregory the Great)

Let anyone truly possessed by the love of Christ keep his commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendour of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins, has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others. By it all God’s chosen ones have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please him. Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God’s will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life’s blood for us – he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul. (St. Clement of Rome)

All through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in Baptism; but afterwards also; whether we obey his voice or not, he graciously calls us still. If we fall from our Baptism, he calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfill our calling, he calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us. Abraham was called from his home, Peter from his nets, Matthew from his office, Elisha from his farm, Nathanael from his retreat; we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting-place, but mounting towards our eternal rest, and obeying one command only to have another put upon us. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again,—and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us. (St. John Henry Newman)

Worship at its best is a social experience with people of all levels of life coming together to realize their oneness and unity under God. Whenever the church, consciously or unconsciously caters to one class it loses the spiritual force of the “whosoever will, let him come, doctrine and is in danger of becoming a little more than a social club with a thin veneer of religiosity. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Each one of us has some kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life and in His Kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place in the Kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we do not find it, we can never be completely happy. For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.  (Thomas Merton)

We should ever be grateful for and love the vocation to which God has called us. This applies to every vocation because, after all, what a privilege it is to serve God, even in the least capacity!  (Bl. Solanus Casey)

This Sunday’s Gospel recounts the beginnings of the public life of Jesus in the cities and villages of Galilee. …It is a borderland, a place of transit where people of different races, cultures, and religions converge. Thus Galilee becomes a symbolic place for the Gospel to open to all nations. From this point of view, Galilee is like the world of today: the co-presence of different cultures, the necessity for comparison and the necessity of encounter. We too are immersed every day in a kind of “Galilee of the nations”, and in this type of context we may feel afraid and give in to the temptation to build fences to make us feel safer, more protected. But Jesus teaches us that the Good News, which he brings, is not reserved to one part of humanity, it is to be communicated to everyone. It is a proclamation of joy destined for those who are waiting for it, but also for all those who perhaps are no longer waiting for anything and haven’t even the strength to seek and to ask. Starting from Galilee, Jesus teaches us that no one is excluded from the salvation of God, rather it is from the margins that God prefers to begin, from the least, so as to reach everyone. (Pope Francis)


A "Rocky" Road 

        Poor Cephas.  Er, I mean Peter.  No, I mean Francis — the Successor of Peter.  No sooner was his predecessor's death announced than Pope Benedict's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, was granting interviews and publishing a memoir about his years serving the pope emeritus in which Pope Francis was subject to various criticisms, apparently stemming from Benedict himself.  Among other things, Pope Francis' decision to restrict permission to celebrate the liturgy as it was prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council — permissions that Benedict almost completely relaxed — was met with special scorn by the Archbishop.  He claims that the deceased pope read the new directives "with pain in his heart" (Die Tagespost Stiftung; trans. Enrique Soros; January 12, 2023) and considered them "a mistake" (as summarized in The Pillar; January 12, 2023).  To his credit, Gänswein was clear that the supposed tensions between Benedict and Francis were exploited by factions in the Church such that the real problem stemming from “the coexistence of two popes, one reigning and one emeritus" was how it allowed for "the emergence and development of two groups of fans” (Aleteia; January 13, 2023). 

        Then there's the late Cardinal George Pell.  After his death on January 10, a memo written under a pseudonym became public in which he referred to Francis' pontificate as "a disaster in many or most respects; a catastrophe."  The prelate was especially concerned over the pope's "emphasis on inclusion and canvassing of the laity about the future of the church" which he elsewhere termed "a toxic nightmare."  In particular, Pell lamented the "weakening" of Catholic teaching, what he called “deepening confusion, the attack on traditional morals and the insertion into the dialogue of neo-Marxist jargon about exclusion, alienation, identity, marginalization, the voiceless, LGBTQ as well as the displacement of Christian notions of forgiveness, sin, sacrifice, healing, redemption” (as reported in America; January 12, 2023).

        And now, for Francis' defense.  In his own words — during an interview he granted to a group of journalists from the Jesuit publication America. The pontiff had this to say in answer to the question, "How can the church respond to polarization within its own life and help respond to polarization in society?": 

Polarization is not Catholic. A Catholic cannot think either-or (aut-aut) and reduce everything to polarization. The essence of what is Catholic is both-and (et-et). The Catholic unites the good and the not-so-good. There is only one people of God. When there is polarization, a divisive mentality arises, which privileges some and leaves others behind. The Catholic always harmonizes differences. If we see how the Holy Spirit acts; it first causes disorder: Think of the morning of Pentecost, and the confusion and mess (lío) it created there, and then it brings about harmony. The Holy Spirit in the church does not reduce everything to just one value; rather, it harmonizes opposing differences. That is the Catholic spirit. The more harmony there is between the differences and the opposites the more Catholic it is. The more polarization there is, the more one loses the Catholic spirit and falls into a sectarian spirit. This [saying] is not mine, but I repeat it: what is Catholic is not either-or, but is both-and, combining differences. And this is how we understand the Catholic way of dealing with sin, which is not puritanical: saints and sinners, both together (November 28, 2022).

      Which brings me to the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in which we find ourselves (January 18-25).  Whatever the state of ecumenical relations between Christian churches, there is clearly a need for an intra-Catholic ecumenism not very different from the situation Paul describes in Corinth: that there are rivalries among you (II).  For the Catholic Church is a house divided in many ways — divisions that spill over into the contentious social and political polarization in the United States as these tend to fall along both religious and partisan lines.  Indeed, you could pretty much replace the names Paul mentions as the factions in the Corinthian church ("I belong to Paul," "I belong to Apollos," "I belong to Cephas," "I belong to Christ") and substitute them for the personalities I have mentioned.  And while it might be strangely comforting to know division in the church has been with us from the beginning, and has continued in different ways throughout church history, such things are hardly in line with the gospel or Jesus' prayer that we "all might be one."  Even Paul was aware how "his gospel" was the source of acrimony among different understandings of Jesus' message.  Any honest reading of the New Testament makes clear that early Christianity was not one big happy family.  

       For there have been competing versions of Christianity from the beginning.  And it's Peter's unenviable role in the universal Church to navigate between their extremes.  And while Francis' guideline about the "both-and" is as good as any for helping to deal with differences — and not just in matters of church unity, but in our personal lives as well where we tend to harden our stance into "either-or" oppositions rather than seek reconciliation between what are often only apparent opposites — such advice is not likely to satisfy the pope's more ardent critics.           Readers of my blog may recall on January 2, his feast day, a comment made by an unnamed biographer of St. Basil of Caesarea, a bishop who among other things had to fend off those who denied the full divinity of the Holy Spirit — a doctrine that would hold sway at the second ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381) and which completed the "Nicene" Creed owing in part to Basil's defense of the teaching.  The biographer made the following astute comment, as relevant today as it was then:  

     There was every sort of division among the Catholics of the east and very considerable misunderstandings between east and west. St Basil's life as a bishop, in fact was lived in the midst of the sort of miserable muddles so common in the history of the church, when everybody is more or less in the wrong, no one trusts anybody else, and Christian charity is very little in evidence. His own charity never failed, and he worked unceasingly for peace and unity. But he was misunderstood and misrepresented; all his efforts to unite the Catholics seemed to go wrong. ( 

     As the French like to say, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."  So pray for Cephas — and his opponents this week.

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website) 

For the Church: that we may have the freedom to leave everything and follow Jesus’ call to serve the reign of God.

For healing in Christian communities: that those who are experiencing struggles and rivalries may allow the Spirit to touch their hearts and transform their minds so that the Body of Christ may be one in serving and praising God.

For a spirit of hope: that all who find themselves struggling with fear or anxiety about the future, may be renewed in mind and spirit with a vision of life and wholeness.

For all who feel caught in the darkness of depression or addiction: that the light of God’s love will guide them to freedom and a new beginning.

For all who are suffering from storms, cold or heat, and other weather events: that God will strengthen them, give them hope, and help them to restore their lives.

For all who are ill: that the Spirit will ease their suffering, bring encouragement through the care of the Christian community, and restore them to wholeness

For peace: that the Spirit will bring forth a new commitment to justice and peace in the hearts of world leaders.

God of salvation,
the splendour of your glory
dispels the darkness of earth,
for in Christ we behold
the nearness of your kingdom.
Now make us quick to follow where he beckons,
eager to embrace the tasks of the gospel.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon



The Lord's right hand has shown strength, the Lord's right hand has exalted me. I shall not die, but live; and I shall declare the works of the Lord.  Ps/. I called to the Lord in my distress; *he has answered and freed me. The Lord is at my side as my helper; * I shall look in triumph on my  foes.

The Offertory is a song of triumph. “ The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me. I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.” This thrice-repeated glorification of the divine right hand, the text of which we find in Psalm cxvii... Jesus, by his own death, finally crushes the power of death, and, rising again, he tells the world of the wonders wrought by Jehovah for the benefit of all humanity redeemed and made to share in the blessing of the Resurrection.

Offertory Anthem (John Rutter)


Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people:
but the Lord shall arise upon thee,
and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:
all they gather themselves together, they come to thee:
thy sons shall come from far,
and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:
but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,
and thy God thy glory.

Communion Antiphon

"Follow me; I will make you fishers of men." Whereupon they, leaving their nets and their boat, followed the Lord. Ps/. Blessed are those whose way is blameless, *who walk in the law of the Lord!

Closing Hymn


He did not wait till the world was ready,

Till ev’ry nation was at peace.

He came when the heavens were unsteady,

And pris’ners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.

He came when the need was deep and great.

He dined with sinners in all their grime,

Turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.

In joy he came to a tarnished world

of sin and doubt.

To a world like ours, of anguished shame

He came, and his light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,

To heal its tangles, shield its scorn.

In the mystery of the Word made flesh

The maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane

To raise our sings with joyful voice,

For to share our grief, to touch our pain,

He came with love: Rejoice, rejoice!