Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3
1. Isaiah says in the First Reading that “Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where recently there was distress.” He was speaking of the ancient lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, but how about today? From where does the “darkness” in today’s world come? Can you think of some recent times when God has dispelled darkness in a significant way?
2. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” This famous saying from Isaiah is quoted again by Matthew in our Gospel passage (also in the prologue to John’s Gospel and elsewhere). Can you see the darkness in the world today? How can you help bring the “light” into dark areas? Can you think of new ways or places to bring the light?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17
1. Pope Francis says that division weakens the credibility and effectiveness of evangelization and risks stripping the Cross of it’s power (cf. 1 Cor 1:17). In words from his Audience below, what is one thing we could do to end these divisions, which sadly still exist in the Church today?
It is beautiful to recognize the grace with which God blesses us and, still more, to find in other Christians something we need, something that we could receive like a gift from our brothers and our sisters. The group from Canada who prepared the texts for this Week of Prayer did not invite communities to think about what they could give to their neighbor Christians, but urged them to meet with one another in order to understand what they all can receive each from the others. This requires something more. It requires much prayer, it requires humility, it requires reflection and continual conversion. Let us go forward on this path, praying for the unity of Christians, that this scandal lessens and that it may cease among us.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 22, 2014
2. There will always be disagreements. Other than the one the Pope suggests above, what are some other ways to handle disputes so that good or growth could come out of them?
1. As soon as Jesus heard that John was arrested he immediately moved into Herod’s territory and began an intense program teaching, healing and preaching repentance. What would cause him to make such a dangerous move? Are you able to stand up and get involved for what is right when you see that you will suffer pain or loss when you do? What do you think of Jesus when he acts like this?
2. Do you think Jesus also needed friends? “At once they left their nets and followed him.” How long did it take Peter and Andrew to respond to his invitation to a personal encounter? What do you think was going on in their heads and hearts? Could they have been excited by the mission of communicating life to others?