Faith Daily | 3 January 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 479
by the leading of a star
you manifested your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles:
mercifully grant, that we, who know you now by faith,
may after this life be led to the vision
of your glorious Godhead;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 4: 12-25
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Virginia Hasker
These verses describe three different events –
the imprisonment of John the Baptist and the effect that had on his cousin Jesus,
the call of 4 fishermen to be Jesus disciples
the start of Jesus ministry of teaching and healing
In the verses preceding these Jesus had been baptised by his cousin John, and then been through the turmoil of the temptation in the ‘wilderness’. Now John the Baptist was arrested and in captivity, so Jesus must have felt that the time had come for him to start his ministry. Moving to Capernaum in the district of Galilee put him into a heavily populated place. The Sea of Galilee is in the Jordan Valley which is part of the Great Rift Valley, a volcanic depression lying below sea level, with a warm climate and very fertile soil. The Sea of Galilee was rich in fish at that time, with many fishing boats operating on the water.
Jesus must have known Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew as well as James and John. Maybe they had hung around in a group together with John the Baptist and Jesus, in their youth, and so they were willing to ‘follow’ Jesus when he called them?
I have always wondered why Jesus chose fishermen as his first disciples. William Barclay points out that fishermen are ordinary people, not scholars or people with influential positions. They are not poor either. They are hardworking people with a particular connection to the natural world, who possess certain skills and intuition. These qualities enable them to be successful at their job.
A fisherman must have patience and perseverance. No good throwing in the towel too early when you are fishing!
He must have courage to brave the elements of wind and sea in order to do his job
He must have an eye for the right moment. The wise fisherman knows well that there are times when it is hopeless to fish. He knows when to cast and when not to cast.
He must fit the bait to the fish. Not every fish will take the same bait or be attracted to the same ‘meal’.
And finally, he must keep himself out of sight. If he casts a shadow over the water the fish will not rise for the bait.
All these qualities are valuable for ‘Fishers of Men’ or disciples. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could relate to other ordinary people. We need to patience and persevere in our faith, to not give-up; we need courage many times over when things get tough or we are criticised; we need to be able to discern the moment when we can speak about our faith, and when no-one is ready to listen; we need to be able to adjust our message to suit the situation and finally we must be able to ‘listen’ and ‘focus’ on the other person and ‘let go’ of ourselves.
FINAL PRAYER: The prayer of Sir Francis Drake
Oh Lord God, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory. Through him, who for the finishing of thy work, laid down His life.
Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen