January 7, 2019

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.
Reflection:
Following in the footsteps of the great prophet Isaiah, John (the Baptist) preached a gospel of repentance of sin and a return to God.
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
But, Jesus did not limit His ministry to spreading John’s message of repentance. Instead, He used the power given to Him by the Father to help people through His actions.
“…..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.”
Baptized in the name of Jesus, we are called to follow in His footsteps, spreading the message of God’s love and forgiveness through our own words and acts of kindness. This is how we demonstrate God’s healing presence among us.
Today, as in the time of Jesus, the old adage holds true,
“Actions speak louder than words.”
We may say, “I don’t have the power to perform miracles like Jesus.”
But, God has given us power to heal.
Every time we listen to someone who is overwhelmed and stressed by the challenges of life, we become God’s healing presence.
When we sit with a friend who is racked with guilt over some past act and assure them of God’s love and forgiveness, we open the door for them to return to God’s loving embrace.
When we give food to the hungry, an extra coat or hat or gloves to a shivering person on the street, our actions are those of our loving Father caring for His child.
Our words “and actions” to help others, bear witness to God’s love for them.
We do not go unrewarded.
We are never more full of joy than when our actions reveal to others God’s presence in their lives.
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“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” John 2:18