Monday after the Epiphany
1 John 3:22-4:6, Psalm 2:7bc-8, 10-12a, & Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
Image: "Jesus Teaches the People by the Sea" by James Tissot, circa 1886-93.
Today's Gospel narrative documents the moment when Jesus left His hometown of Nazareth, never to live there again. Saint Luke's Gospel makes it is made clear that this decision was due to His rejection by the members of the community. In 4:30-31, Luke recounts how Jesus' townspeople tried to throw Him over a cliff because He said things they did not like to hear. As soon as John the Baptist was inprisioned thus ending his ministry, Jesus was ministering in Galilee.' The Old Testament prophets spoke of God's promise to send a 'Redeemer' to establish God's rule, which Jesus fulfilled.
Our Lord takes up John's message of repentance and calls the disciples to believe in the 'Good News' that He has come to deliver. He encourages them to 'reform' to live in God's Kingdom. The task was to awaken humanity alienated from God in the beginning. There was only one word for it—REPENT! Jesus calls the blind to see, and He will teach that repentance is less about sorrow and regret than a challenge to open one's eyes and see more clearly. The call to repentance requires a life change and a transformation of heart and mind.
God, the Holy Spirit, gives us the grace to see our sins for what they are, a rebellion and rejection of the love of God. Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to all of us. To believe is to take Jesus at His Word and know that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to redeem us from the slavery of sin and death. God wants to change our way of thinking and transform our lives by the power of His Holy Word. May we all be forever thankful for this gift that we must earn by heeding the Good News that is Christ Jesus.
Question of the Day: How will you place your life into the hands of Jesus to be reformed by God, who continues to call us to life everlasting?
Prayer: "Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Alleluia, alleluia."