The Gospel according to 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 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.
Reflection: Imagine yourself being one of those who brought to Jesus those with “various diseases,” those “racked with pain,” and those who were “possessed, lunatics and paralytics.” Do you have the necessary love, concern, and compassion to be one who brings these people to Jesus?
I recall a time when I was 9-10 years old and my family went camping somewhere in the San Bernardino mountains. I specifically remember going swimming in a place called Deep Creek where there were others too. Now I was a very good swimmer because I was on a swim team, so my mom didn’t worry much. My brother Randy and I jumping off cliffs and so forth just having fun. Well, I heard a woman screaming and I instictually dove to that area and saw a kid under water and he was struggling to swim up, so I dove deeper and grabbed him by the hair on his head and pulled him up. When I came up, I heard people yelling and there was my mother with that specific look. I thought I was in trouble (again) because I pulled the kid by his hair. But this time I was a hero, and the people weren’t yelling but cheering for me. I remember the kids mother wanting to praise me and hug me and all I wanted was to let me go so I could get back into the water with my brother.
Often, when we encounter those who are hurting or are the “rejects” of society, we tend to look down on them. It takes a very merciful and compassionate person to see the dignity of these people and to do something to help them heal and encounter the love of God. Reaching out to those in serious need requires great humility on our part and requires a truly non-judgmental heart or sometimes we just react without reason just to help someone. The Son of God came into our world to bring healing and salvation to all people. It’s our duty to help bring all people to Jesus, no matter their condition, level of need, or societal status.
Action of the Day: Reflect on the times you have helped someone. How did you feel? Why did you do it? Would you do it again?
January 17th is the 1 year anniversary of DEACON5. Stay tuned for new changes such as audio podcast of the Gospel Refelctions.