Monday after Epiphany
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
Martin Luther said: “It is not necessary for a preacher to express all his thoughts in one sermon. A preacher should have three principles, first, to make a good beginning and not spend time with many words before coming to the point; secondly, to say that which belongs to the subject in chief and avoid strange and foreign thoughts; thirdly, to stop at the proper time.”
Well anyway, Christmas season ends during the Feast of the Epiphany which was yesterday. Christmas decorations are taken down today and kept. We go back now to what is normal after a long Christmas celebration. But the Church continues to remind us on the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation, He is a man like us in all things but sin.
In today’s gospel, Jesus has grown up already, leaves His hometown, Nazareth and begins His public ministry in Galilee. Especially that the enemies of John the Baptist had silenced him but the gospel cannot be silenced. As soon as John had finished his testimony, Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee. His message consists of a command: “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Galilee was a Palestinian province in the north of the land and surrounded by pagan countries. It had been assigned to the tribes of Asher, Naptali and Zebulum when the Israelites first came into the land (Joshua 9). Isaiah foretold (ch.9) that the good news of salvation would be proclaimed in this land and reach to the Gentiles. Jesus begins the proclamation of the gospel here to fulfill the word of God.
Jesus comes to preach the gospel. He came to tell them the truth about God. His preaching is spontaneous, infectious, warmth, a simple directness and a depth of reality. This is all because of His intimate knowledge and union with God. Therefore, He preaches to defeat people’s ignorance about the truth of God.
Jesus comes to teach in the synagogues. What is the difference between preaching and teaching? Preaching in a strict sense implies public discoursing on a religious subject by one having authority to do so. It begins with Our Lord Himself, entrusted to the Apostles and given to bishops or priests. It is the uncompromising proclamation of the Word of God. While teaching, it is the explanation of the meaning and significance of God’s word. Jesus does the explanation because there are times when people know the truth and misinterpret it. They know the truth and draw the wrong conclusions from it. Jesus came to tell people the meaning of true religion. Therefore, He teaches to defeat people’s misunderstandings and misinterpretation.
Jesus comes to heal all those who need of healing. The important thing about Jesus is that He is not satisfied with simply telling the people the truth in words. He comes to turn the truth into deeds. Jesus realizes His own teaching in action. Therefore, He heals to defeat and give a deeper meaning to people’s pain.
And so if Jesus comes to preach that He might defeat all ignorance; to teach that He might defeat all misunderstandings; to heal that He might defeat and give meaning to pain, we, too, must proclaim God’s word; ready to explain our faith; and turn our words into deeds.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,