Praying Sunday’s Gospel Jan 26

Lectio Divina and Visio Divina on Matthew 4: 12-23

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – January 26, 2020  Word of God Sunday: Deepen Your Faith with Scripture (Archdiocese of Toronto)

Lectio Divina is a way of hearing God speak to us.  This is the Gospel that will be read in its entirety on Sunday at mass. 

Let us pray:

Psalm 27:1, 4, 13–14

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

   whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

   of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing I asked of the Lord,

   that will I seek after:

to live in the house of the Lord

   all the days of my life,

to behold the beauty of the Lord,

   and to inquire in his temple.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord!

Matthew 4:12-23

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.


Some thoughts on today’s scripture

Jesus leaves the little home village of Nazareth and moves to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, a busy fishing port and trading centre, where duties were collected for the Roman colonisers by tax collectors like Matthew/Levi. Here Jesus begins his ministry in earnest. I listen and watch as he proclaims the Good News and heals every kind of sickness. He attracts big crowds from all parts. He is a young man (aged 32) in a hurry, so much to do, so little time.

But “Light has dawned.” The great movement of salvation has begun. Do I hear his call to turn back to God? Do I bring the light and love of Christ to my world – to my family? to my workplace? to my parish?

Here we are at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He leaves Nazareth and settles in Capernaum, a busy fishing and trading centre on the Sea of Galilee. His call to repentance is identical to that of John the Baptist.

He is a late starter, a young man in a hurry. His hero, John, has been beheaded and he realises his time may be short. He ministers to large crowds, proclaiming the Good News of the reign of God, healing all kinds of sickness and exorcising demons.

Do I catch the excitement and enthusiasm of the crowds, come from far and wide?

In this story we hear how Jesus devoted himself tirelessly to “proclaiming the good news” of God’s love and providence. You might ask yourself what that “good news” means for you in practice today. Jesus also spends a lot of time healing people of the wounds from their past and he also sets people free from their demons.

If you want to pray about this, quieten your mind for a short while and hear Jesus saying to you, “Come and see” a number of times. Then be with Jesus and the “good news” he has for you and with how he wants to heal the wounds from your past so that you might be free to ponder his love for you like Mary did.

Jesus ventures into regions where pagan influences are felt. The ‘demoniacs’ were in the grip of the prince of darkness: a dark shadow hung on the lives of the epileptics; and the lives of the sick were blighted also. But Jesus, Lord of light, launches the kingdom of heaven – rolling back the darkness.

Does some dark influence also tend at times to pull me down in spirit? I open myself to the healing light of Jesus.

What does Jesus mean by the kingdom of heaven? It is the world as it might be, as we would wish it to be, this lovely planet as we hope to have it, a place of peace and good will.

Jesus is leading us out into the border country, away from our comfort zone of Nazareth, into strange territories where neighbours are different, and may misunderstand us, and it is not easy to spread the Good News.

Jesus the healer applied a therapy that was his own person: his compassionate love. He accepted every sick person wholeheartedly. He suffered to see them suffering. Healing was Jesus’ way of loving. He showed them that they deserved to be loved.

Lord Jesus, a main part of your healing action was just your warmth and friendship. You drew those in need to trust in the goodness of God and to find courage to move on.  

The inaugural speech of a new national leader is a pivotal moment. We listen with keen ears. We long for authentic words of vision and hope to raise our wearied spirits. Jesus’ inaugural speech, with its message of good news, holds his audience captive. In him, the message and the messenger are united. He offers truth, healing, hope, compassion and peace to the hopeless.

Lord, you call on me to reform my life and place my faith in this good news. Deepen my belief. May I take you at your word and trust in the God of love you came to reveal.

When Jesus hears that John the Baptist has been arrested, he thinks that he might suffer the same fate so he leaves Nazareth and goes to Galilee, seeking greater security. He makes his home in Capernaum a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, old tribal names for parts of Palestine. In those days Galilee was at least half Gentile in population, half pagan in cult, and bilingual – the people spoke Greek as well as Aramaic. According to Matthew, when Jesus settles in Galilee he becomes a ‘light’ for the people of those regions through his teaching and healing.

Is Jesus the light enlightening my daily living? If so, can I count the ways?  

Jesus calls us to change. With Jesus, I allow aspects of my way of living that are in need of change to come to light. I ask for the help I need.

Jesus is willing and able to heal. I pray for those in need. I acknowledge my own neediness and humbly ask for healing.

Source: Sacred Space

Visio Divina

Calling of the Apostles Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1481

1. Visio (See) Look at the art. What do you see? What is happening?

2. Meditatio (Meditate) How does it make you feel?

3. Lectio (Read, Context) Read the Gospel passage below. View the information at the Christian Art Today and/or Web Gallery of Art How does the painting correspond with the Gospel?

4. Oratio (Pray) Silently sit with this image opening yourself up to the flow of the Holy Spirit.

5. Contemplatio (Ponder) How is God speaking to you in this Visio Divina? Share your thoughts by writing them or telling them.

6. Operatio (Act) Because of this Visio Divina, what acts or changes in thinking do you want to happen in your life?

See also the Lectio Divina on this Gospel by the Carmelites. and the American Bible Society.

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