Monday after Epiphany
1st Reading: 1Jn 3:22—4:6
Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us. Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist who, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
Gospel: Mt 4:12-17, 23-25
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.” 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. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.
BELIEVE IN THE NAME OF JESUS: The Name of God implies God’s very presence among us. Today, we celebrate this Holy Name of Jesus, which spread throughout Israel and beyond. Fame cannot spread without mentioning the names of the persons concerned. As Christians, we are called upon to believe in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that we too can embrace the Gospel, and be cured of our diseases and pains. Believing in the Name of Jesus, is accepting God to walk with us in our lives. Believing in the Holy Name gives us an assurance that God will in turn listen to our conversations (prayers). God answers our petitions not simply because in our belief in the Name of Jesus, we obey God’s commandments. In doing so, we align ourselves to the will of God.
Prayer: Grant me your Holy Spirit from the holy heavens, that she may be with me and toil, and that I may learn what is pleasing to thee.
TEST THE SPIRITS: The first reading reminds us of our call to “do what pleases him”. It tells us “the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us. Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God.” This is our daily challenge. Today’s First Reading encourages us to “pay attention” to our interior movements and discern the movement of good and evil spirits in our daily lives. Discerning these spirits will help us understand and live our lives in harmony with God. We must accept and rejoice in the fact that we have all been given different gifts, and those unique gifts should be acknowledged and celebrated and not kept under a basket nor resented. Using our unique gifts, honors God, but we must regularly “test the spirits” and pay attention to our interior life by reflecting upon our spirits and how they are influencing our thoughts and actions.
STAY FIGHTING FIT: The message of Jesus is clear, “Repent the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. As a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus steps out of His hometown and moves around Capernaum, a land enveloped in ‘death and darkness’, and brings ‘Great Light’: teaching, proclaiming and curing every disease. He also combats the forces of evil as he releases those overpowered by these forces. He calls people to freedom as they remain truly anchored in God. May we be awakened by this call. Let us be determined to always act right and in fortitude as we fight against evil. Let us not test the Spirit to know if it belongs to God (1Jn 3:22). Let us present ourselves fit to the Lord’s coming.