Matthew 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 Zebulon and Naphtali, that
what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might
be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulon 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.
Prayer: My heavenly Father, you made me out of your
infinite love. Even though I have failed to love
you as a good child should, still you send me
gift upon gift. You sent your Son to redeem
me and to make me one with you, in and
through your Son. You and your only beloved Son
sent your Spirit of love and truth, the Holy
Spirit, to dwell in me. Thank you for bringing me
into the intimacy of your Triune love. In return,
I offer you my own heart and my desire to
respond generously to whatever you ask of me.
Petition: Jesus, help me to open my heart to you.
1. The True Light Is Here:John the Baptist did all
that the Father had asked. Through it all he
remained humble. The people thought he was the Christ; however,
he would not allow the winds of pride to
extinguish the light of truth, so he proclaimed that
he was not the Christ. The world rewarded John the
Baptist with silence and death. On the contrary, what
treasure did God bestow upon him for his fidelity?
Acclaim – “Welcome my good and faithful servant” – and
eternal life. John was merely the voice calling people
to repent and convert. Now the Word himself proclaims
these words. John was a voice in the wilderness. Now
the Word who is light and life itself enters
the public scene. May the light of truth open
our hearts to the true and everlasting Kingdom. Am I
able to distinguish between what is gold in God’s
eyes and what glistens so attractively yet is merely
“fool’s gold”? Is this capacity consistent with what I preach
by my word and example?
2. Jesus Preaches with More
Than Words: Our Lord Jesus went about doing only good:
healing the sick, comforting the lonely, forgiving sinners, and
preaching the Gospel. Our faith tells us this, and
we can visualize it as we read the Gospel. But
do we really encounter our Lord like those who
crossed his path 2,000 years ago? I can answer
this question by looking at my life: Do I live
more and more like Christ, or not? Do I
appreciate and thank Christ for all the good he has
done in my life? Do I want with all
of my heart to be with Christ forever, on earth
and in heaven? Where my heart is, there is
my treasure. Like Christ, I am called to preach
with more than words.
3. People Respond to the Truth:
A disciple of Christ can never be discouraged, because people
do respond to the truth, to the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. We see this throughout the Gospels and
throughout the history of the Church. When our efforts to
evangelize seem to fall on hard ground, we need
to examine how we will react. Christ commanded us
to preach his gospel in word and deed. He demanded
that we produce fruit. Christ also said we would
do greater things than he did. We also know
that Christ has defeated sin and death. Knowing all this,
how can we be discouraged by the lack of
fruit in our efforts to evangelize? We do the work,
and Christ takes care of the rest. It’s that
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you came to save sinners;
enter into my life anew on this new day.
Remove all fear that I have of you, Lord Jesus.
Teach me that you are a God of compassion
and that you are meek and humble of heart.
Resolution: I will develop a simple plan to help
my parish in its efforts to evangelize.