Faith Daily | 7 January 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p479
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: 12-17, 23-25
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so 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.’ 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
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. 24So 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. 25And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Graeme Curnow
So it seems that after Jesus was rejected and his life threatened in his home town of Nazareth he withdrew to Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilea, about 40 km to the northeast. There he preached a very similar message to John the Baptist (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”) From there He crossed over into the an area designated the Decapolis, which comprised 10 independent towns ranging from Caesarea Philippi to Damascus in the north; down to Philadelphia in the south (somewhat geographically parallel to Jerusalem).
The 10 towns was aligned to Greek culture so it seems Jesus initiated the first foray of the gospel to Gentile listeners.
Jerusalem is west of the Jordan River in Judea, about 127km south of Capernaum. Damascus is about 98 km from Capernaum. In those times, most of the population travelled about on foot and it is likely that all of Jesus travel would have been done the same way. News of Jesus’s teaching and miracles of healing would have had to be spread by word of mouth. In a relatively short time a significant and wide-spread population became cognisant of Jesus’ teaching and alerted to the Gospel.
Curing people afflicted with every disease and sickness brought fame to Jesus, facilitating His preaching of the gospel to all who came to Him.
Isn’t important that hospitals nursing homes owned and operated by our churches be maintained? Equally, individual Christian congregations should be faithful in maintaining prayers for the sick, afflicted, disabled disowned and disadvantaged in our 21st C society?
Personally, I have found it hard to pray for my own healing but the following prayer by St. Padre Pio (1887 -1968) provides for all the healing that I could ask from God.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for loving me. I thank you for sending your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the world to save and to set me free. I trust in your power and grace that sustain and restore me. Loving Father, touch me now with your healing hands, for I believe that your will is for me to be well in mind, body, soul and spirit. Cover me with the most precious blood of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. Cast anything that should not be in me. Root out any unhealthy and abnormal cells. Open any blocked arteries or veins and rebuild and replenish any damaged areas. Remove all inflammation and cleanse any infection by the power of Jesus’ precious blood. Let the fire of your healing love pass through my entire body to heal and make new any diseased areas so that my body will function the way you created it to function. Touch also my mind and my emotion, even the deepest recesses of my heart. Saturate my entire being with your presence, love, joy and peace and draw me ever closer to you every moment of my life. And Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me to do your works so that my life will bring glory and honour to your holy name. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.