CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 26, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 4:12-23

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.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. 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.

Reflection on the gospel reading: When Jesus called people to repent, he was not merely asking them to reject the wrongs they had done in the past. It was something much greater than that. The good news that Jesus preaches is about a radical change of attitude. Embracing the kingdom of God (or “heaven” as Matthew styles it) is not merely about a trajectory to the afterlife but much more immediately about changing the direction of our lives to establish God’s reign on earth: it means feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, taking care of the sick, being present to captives, rejecting hypocrisy. Embracing the good news, that is, to be a Christian, is about our acts of courtesy, kindness, justice, and love that manifest the presence of God’s kingdom in the world. All of this, of course, has great relevance to how we live our lives here and now as people who are responsible to one another.

But this passage of the gospel documents that the proclamation of the kingdom of God has a history of changing lives that goes right back to the very beginning. The second part of the gospel passage is about the reaction of four men to Jesus’ teaching: giving everything up in total trust to follow Jesus. Said another way, the history of the gospel is its power to change lives and redirect the course of events. It is a history that begins with Peter, Andrew, John, and James, and it is a history that continues to this very moment as each of us in our own turn opens ourselves to understand the implications of Jesus’ teaching in our lives.

Spiritual reading: But when once Christ had called him, Peter had no alternative he must leave the ship and come to Him. In the end, the first step of obedience proves to be an act of faith in the word of Christ. But we should completely misunderstand the nature of grace if we were to suppose that there was no need to take the first-step, because faith was already there. Against that, we must boldly assert that the step of obedience must be taken before faith can be possible. Unless he obeys, a man cannot believe. (The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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