In today’s Gospel, “Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17). This repentance to which He calls us is so much more than just remorse for sin; although make no mistake, we are indeed tasked with this as well. Jesus, the Light of the World, longs for us to step more fully into His light and experience a personal metanoia moment, a profound change of heart and turning away from sin. A choosing to daily call upon the grace of our Baptism and to seek God’s kingdom.

To walk alongside Jesus, as we answer His invitation to “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). Journeying to not only develop a deeper, more authentic relationship with Christ but also to share this Good News with others. The first disciples acknowledged their need for a Savior and wisely recognized Jesus as the Messiah, leaving behind the former ways of life to follow Him. These first disciples offered radical, tangible detachments to answer Jesus’ summons. They exhibited tremendous trust to abandon all they knew to embrace the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. From what do we need to detach in order to respond with the same abandon and trust to the promises of our Savior? What will move our hearts to emerge from the darkness and see the Great Light before us?

If we allow the Light of Christ to illuminate our darkness, we too can be, as the Prophet Isaiah professed, “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” (Is 9:1-2). Sitting in the dark can be frightening; not knowing what lies in front of you can be unnerving. The darkness can not withstand against even the tiniest sliver of light.  

What is blocking the Son from penetrating through your spiritual darkness? Can you profess, without reserve, that “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Ps 27:1)? The new year is a perfect time to examine where we place our attention to see more clearly what keeps us in the shadows and prevents us from coming into the light. Consider simple daily changes to move you closer to the Light of Christ. 

In the morning, give the Lord time before you embark on your day’s to-do list. You will discover countless blessings in offering the Lord just five to ten minutes upon waking to spend time in prayer or reading the Scriptures. Throughout your day, seek guidance through the grace of your Baptism as you face countless decisions and interactions with others or perhaps struggle to find peace in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Before bed, after examining your day, offer a prayer of penance and resolve to wake in the light of a new day prepared to recognize the Messiah in your life and follow Him.

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