What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
we give thanks for this ancient and beautiful land,
a land of despair and hope,
a land of wealth and abundant harvests,
a land of fire, drought and flood.
We pray that your Spirit may continue to move
in this land and bring forgiveness, reconciliation,
and an end to all injustice;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Deut 8:5-14a
- Psalm 125
- Hebrews 11:8-16
- Matthew 5:1-12
- Micah 6:1-8
- Psalm 15
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
- Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus said to Simon and his brother Andrew, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Galilee is the centrepiece of today’s readings.
In Jesus’ time, Galilee was the most populated and productive region of Palestine. The great roads of the world passed through Galilee, making it a strategic target for invasion. White-sailed ships crept up the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria and caravans travelled through the region from Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Galilee, unlike the rest of Palestine, had an international perspective, in touch with many non-Jewish ideas and influences. Josephus, the Roman historian, wrote of the people of Galilee: “They were fond of innovation and, by nature, disposed to change and delighted in sedition . . . The Galileans were never destitute of courage . . . They were ever more anxious for honour than for gain.”
In a few lines, Matthew sketches a new beginning in human history: the arrest of John and the end of the First Testament; the beginning of a New Testament in the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus in Galilee and the call of the first disciples from their fishing nets along the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ beginning his public ministry in Galilee is, for Matthew, the fulfillment of an ancient oracle concerning the Messiah: that, through the darkness of Galilee’s Assyrian captivity, the “great light” of their deliverance will appear (Reading 1).
Like Peter, James and John, we are asked by Jesus to take on the work of discipleship; we are asked to leave our “fishing nets” – our own needs and wants – to follow the example of love and servanthood given to us by Jesus; we are asked to rebuild our lives, homes and cities in the justice and peace that Jesus proclaims.
Jesus calls his disciples of every time and place to be “fishers” of men and women, to use whatever “nets” we possess, in whatever oceans and seas we find ourselves, to catch the falling, rescue the endangered, gather in the lost and forgotten.
Christ is the light that illuminates our minds and souls with a new vision of the human condition: in the light of Christ, we are able to recognize one another as brothers and sisters, children of the same God; in the light of Christ, we realize our own need for healing and forgiveness and are then able to bring such transformation into our lives and the lives of others. © Connections/MediaWorks
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