January 5, 2015

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.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Sometimes I can become so used to a phrase that I simply absorb it without giving it any thought.
What does it mean, “Jesus began to preach”?
Theologian William Barclay tells us that in ancient Greek the word preach is similar in meaning to Kerux which carries several meanings, i.e., “to state with certainty” and “authority” and also “from a source beyond ones self.”
At My Brother’s Keeper, like Jesus, we serve, we “preach” and we heal everyday.
Recently I brought food to Katrina, a single mom with four children. On previous visits, Katrina was always upbeat, welcoming and positive. This past summer, she joyfully shared that she was inquiring about trying to get permission to use an adjacent empty lot to start a community garden.
But, on this visit, Katrina was visibly despondent. Tearfully, she told me that she had lost her job. She had been fired because, not being able to make ends meet on one salary, she had taken a second part-time job. Because her second job made her less “flexible” to her primary employer, she had been let go.
Putting my hand on her shoulder, I told her, “Katrina, you’re doing a great job raising your kids. Life never closes a door that God does not open another door for us. God loves you and He knows what a great job you’re doing. He’s very proud of you.”
Her spirits lifted, Katria smiled and said, “Thanks so much! I was waiting for you guys to get here today because I knew I could tell you and you’d make me feel better.
Yes, I preached to Katrina with “certainty, authority and from a source beyond myself.”
Yet, another example how we carried food and delivered Hope!