Teaching and Healing
When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah’s sermon:
Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, road to the sea, over Jordan, Galilee, crossroads for the nations. People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; Sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up.
This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.
A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.
From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God’s kingdom was his theme—that beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan.
Today’s Gospel puts us at the start of the public ministry of Jesus. In the passages of Matthew preceding today’s reading, John had baptized Jesus and recognized that He was the One for whom John had prepared the people. Jesus left for his time of temptation in the desert, and John had been arrested. When Jesus had triumphed over Satan, by rejecting the three temptations that had caused Adam and the Israelites to fall, Jesus returns just as John leaves the stage, so to speak, when John is arrested.
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’. And they left their nets at once and followed him.
We notice a big change of life for the disciples, they leave the past to follow the Lord. Leaving behind their old jobs and roles, but also what might block them from living their lives to the full.
For this they need to believe in themselves. We pick up things said about ourselves from other people and sometimes we may have to forgive and forget what has been said. A child whose parents separate often feels unloved and they need the extra care and love that shows them they are ok. Every addicted person has deep down a sense of not being loved. Every child coming into the world deserves to know that he or she is much loved.
We need to tap into the love and the call of God. We need to let go of a religion of guilt, and a feeling of not being close to God, because of the things that we have done wrong and things we did, but did not mean to do. We believe that the first gift of our faith is the love of God … the humble God who became one of us because He loves us so very much.
Look at the disciples now, letting go of nets. But they had something new. Each of us week by week can get this new thing here. The best thing going for us is in this church and that is the love of God. Everything else flows from that. We meet not to make ourselves loved by God but because God loves us.
To know the love of God, is a huge gift, and to know the love and acceptance of another person or a few other people in life is also a huge gift. Both are one. Love divine, all love excelling is indeed the joy of heaven to earth come down. This is true Christian love, the of Christ and we can find it and cherish it in every love and friendship we have.
Today’s message is for all of us whether we are believers or unbelievers. Let us reflect on Jesus in our lives! Is He in your life? Do you allow Him into your life? That is something only you yourself can answer! Thanks be to God for His openness, His mercy and generosity in listening to us and giving us a special and personal invitation to follow Him.
Fr Roman Szczypa SDB
Following Jesus is a relationship. In all the most important relationships of life, communication is vitally important. No relationship stays the same. A relationship improves as two persons come to know each other and share the things that are important to them. People can't get to know each other if they don't talk. Prayer is simply talking and listening to God.
You can pray to God anytime you choose. Prayer is a conversation, involving both talking and listening. God is everywhere and always hears when you talk to Him. You don't have to be in a special place like church. You can pray when you want to thank Him for what He has done for you, to tell Him how much you love Him, or to ask Him for help with a problem.
In your new life of following Jesus, you will need to talk with God each day. A wonderful thing about God is that He is everywhere. You can talk to Him and He can speak to you anytime and anywhere.
When you pray, talk as you would to your best friend. You can't even tell your best friend some things, but you can tell God anything.
Thank God for what He has done, especially for what He has done in your life. Thank Him for bringing you to the time and place where you received Jesus, for forgiving your sins and for your new life. God will help you in many ways and you will have much to thank Him for. Confess your sins to God and ask Him to forgive you. We all sin, even after we receive Jesus as our Saviour. He is freeing us from sin and changing us. But we still sin, and when we do, we must confess our sins to God and He will forgive us.
Ask God for help for others and for yourself. We can ask Him to change something in us, to keep us safe, or to give us the food and clothing we need. Remember, "... God will give you everything you need, by His riches in glory in Jesus Christ" (Philippians 4:19). Asking Jesus to help others is a very important part of praying. Jesus prayed for others more than for himself.