3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (2023)

January 22, 2023

Mass Readings for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • First ReadingIsaiah 8:23 – 9:3: “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.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
  • Second Reading1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17: “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.”
  • GospelMatthew 4:12-23: “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.”

Themes for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The readings for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A inspire us to understand that Jesus has saved us and we are called to spread that good news to others. In the first reading we hear that Jesus ushers in a new era of freedom and salvation. The psalm reaffirms that the Lord is our salvation. In the 2nd reading Paul reminds us that we must be united in our efforts to evangelize. And in the Gospel we hear Jesus calling Simon Peter and Andrew to join him in spreading the Good News.

  • Vocations
  • Evangelization
  • Salvation

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.

Resources for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Pray for More Vocations to the Priesthood

Why should we pray for more vocations to the priesthood? It is no secret that we need more priests in the Catholic Church. Giving your whole life to the service of the Church is counter-cultural and many young people do not even consider it. God calls us all to a specific vocation. So we should pray that those being called to the priesthood will hear and answer that call. 

Anselm’s Prayer – Teach My Heart Where and How to Seek You

St. Anselm of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk and theologian. His feast day is April 21. Anselm’s Prayer is a good prayer to say before reading scripture. It would also work well will a discussion of discernment or discipleship.

Four Rules for Discernment

In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains the four rules for discernment. Think of the choice before you and then prayerfully consider 1. Is this a good door? 2. Is this an open door? 3. Is this a wise door? and 4. Is this a door that I want?

Homilies and Reflections for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The Plan Revealed

Jeff Cavins demonstrates how God continues to reveal his plan for humanity through Scripture.

Measuring Up

Joel Stepanek helps us understand the readings for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. This weeks readings are for everyone who thinks they are not good enough.

A Great Light in the Darkness

From Bishop Robert Barron. “This week’s reading from the prophet Isaiah emphasizes God’s tendency to bring the best from the worst situations, light from the darkness. Throughout the Bible we see wonderful things come from the most unexpected places, and this is reflected in our own lives as well. Often our greatest goodness can come from the darkest places of our beings.”

In the Land of Zebulon and Naphtali

Also from Bishop Robert Barron. “Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah and our Gospel are tightly linked, for St. Matthew, in articulating the meaning of Jesus, cites (as is his wont) an Old Testament text—namely, our reading from the eighth and ninth chapters of Isaiah. The prophet speaks of conflict in the land of Zebulon and Naphtali, and then of a great light that shines in that area, signaling the victory of God.”

History Redeemed

From Scott Hahn. “Today’s Liturgy gives us a lesson in ancient Israelite geography and history. Eight centuries before Christ, that part of the kingdom where the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali lived was attacked by the Assyrians, and the tribes were hauled off into captivity.” Continue reading.

Following the Lord

Also from Bishop Barron. “All of us want to live to the fullest. However, most of us never find the one thing that will inspire us to dedicate our whole lives to it. It is amazing to hear of how the first people who responded to Christ dedicated their whole lives to him. Their encounter with Christ sent them on a path they never dreamed of. Paradoxically, this path was marked by great joy and suffering; but, nevertheless, they lived life to the fullest.”

More Thoughts for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Light and Darkness

Zebulun and Naphtali were part of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which was destroyed when the Assyrians invaded. The people were sent into exile. Even in this time of darkness, God provided hope and light.

The time of Jesus was also a time of darkness, with oppression by the Romans. Jesus provides light in this time by proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

Good Enough?

In Jesus’ time, rabbis would call people to follow him. But typically they would call people who were knowledgeable and “good enough”. But Jesus is calling fishermen and other people who in Jewish society of the day would not have been considered worthy.

God doesn’t require us to measure up. We do not have to be wise or learned or skillful. We just need to be willing. He can work with with whatever we have to offer.

Corinth

The early Christian community at Corinth included Jews and Gentiles who were following “The Way”. But rivalries developed and cultures clashed. Paul urges them to develop a sense of community instead of becoming a group of rival factions.

They should use their diverse gifts and talents for the good of the whole rather than dividing into multiple groups. Diversity is good within the Christian community when it enriches the mission. Instead of suppressing different voices, we should seek to learn from each other and build strength from our differences.

Reflection Questions for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • Where do I see light and darkness in our world today?
  • How can I use my strengths and weaknesses to build up my parish community?
  • Do I avoid cliques and factions in my Christian communities?
  • How can I encourage and listen to diverse voices in the groups I belong to?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

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.

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