By Fr.Felix (African Times Guest Writer)
A Reading From The Holy Gospel according to Matthew (4:12-17, 23-25).
This is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew first introduces us
to Galilee, characteristically quoting the scriptures to show that they
are being fulfilled, and in what way.
Galilee is called ‘Galilee of the gentiles’ only in this passage, and
it was not a particularly notable feature of Galilee. Archaeology shows
that Jewish observance was strong in the region. Contemporary
literature shows that there was a lively tradition of prayerful
charismatic rabbis with a warm devotion to the Lord.
Jesus begins his ministry by proclaiming the imminence of the Kingdom
of God, which will be the subject of all his activity. Then he begins
to form the new Israel by calling his team together. The Christian
imagination tends to combine this scene with the scene with the Baptist
in the Jordan Valley in the gospel of John, which gives at least Peter
and Andrew some knowledge of Jesus.
But today’s narrative must be heard on its own, and the staggering
factor is that this is the first time at any rate the sons of Zebedee
have set eyes on Jesus. As he passes by he calls them, and such is the
electrifying power of his charismatic personality that they simply drop
everything and follow this total stranger – immediately, as the
evangelist stresses each time.