Gospel Reflections

Gospel Reflection for  Sunday the 26th of January 2020

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Matthew 4:12-23

In today’s first reading we hear Isiah the great Messianic prophet, speaking 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Foretell the coming of Jesus when he   prophesies.  God will confer a great glory on the land of Naphtali, which is Galilee. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light, on those that live in a land of deep shadow and death, a light has dawned.

Jesus started his public life, just before John the Baptist was arrested by Herod. Today’s gospel tells us, he went into Galilee, there he proclaimed the Good News from God. Teaching, “The time has come; the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the good news. Walking along by the Sea of Galilee he called to Simon and Andrew come follow me, at once they left their nets and followed him. A little time later the same occurred with James and John.

When Jesus announces the good news of the coming of the kingdom of God: He immediately makes this call to the Apostles, and subsequently to a much larger group of disciples. In doing this Jesus makes it clear from the outset, that while he has come to earn our redemption, and teach us the way to salvation. He is not going to wave a magic wand, mankind or at least those who will listen, believe and follow his teachings must help him in this endeavour.  He also teaches that the redemption of mankind will be hard earned, by him, and by those who will support him. You might ask why he did he have to make it so hard, could he not have just have waved the magic wand. The answer to this question provides us with one of the best insights into why there is suffering in the world.

God makes it clear from the very beginning, starting in Old Testament times with the Jewish people. As he creates each person in his own image out of love, he bestows two great gifts on mankind.  The first is the possibility of eternal life in his presence united with all those we love.  The second is free will. God granted us free will; he will call to us many, many times during our life and bestow many, many graces and blessings on each one of us to help us attain eternal life in his presence. Ultimately the choice is ours, God will not infringe on our free will, it is a gift granted that will not be revoked. Each person who desires eternal life must of their own free, will recognise Jesus as their saviour and ask for his mercy.

In order to accomplish the redemption of mankind, Jesus made it clear he required the support of many disciples during the time he walked on this earth, and through his mystical body, the Church on earth, in all the centuries since.

It clearly must have taken great faith, courage and commitment for Peter, Andrew, James, John and subsequently the other apostles to leave all and follow Jesus. Most of us may not be called to leave all, in order to follow Jesus. However as Christians we are members of the mystical body of believers. Jesus relies on us to support him in completing the redemption of mankind. We can do this in many ways, whatever our vocation in life. The two most significant people in the life of Jesus supported him by continuing in their original vocations. St. Joseph continued to work as a carpenter, and his mother Mary continued her role as home maker.

Prayer and example in the way we live our lives are the key ways in which most of us can support Jesus. To have food and not share it with those who have none, to have light in the darkness and not to shine it, to have love in our heart and not give it, these are some of the ways we can come up short in the example of our lives.  Our Christianity must reflect into our family, our workplace, our parish and the country to which we belong.

Next Sunday being the start of Catholics Schools Week reminds us that the Vocations of Parent and Teacher are two of the most important roles in the passing on our faith. Our faith in past times was sustained by the power of tradition and culture. In today’s secular /modernistic world, our younger generations do not have this great support in developing and maintaining their faith. They need to know their faith with a greater depth of learning and understanding. When they leave school and questions arise for them, they need to know where to  seek and find answers. That is in Scripture, in the Catechism in adult education courses.

Today let us ask Jesus to grant the grace, to all of us as christens, especially parents, teachers and priests to be good role models by prayer and example in passing on his teachings.

 

– Fr Sean Hyland http://www.whisperingsofmysoul.com./home.html