T H E W O R D
There is no gloom where there had been distress. Where once he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, now he has glorified the way of the Sea, the land across the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing;
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest,
as they exult when dividing the spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
The rod of their taskmaster,
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
Cor 1: 10-13. 17
Brothers and sisters: I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
Mt 4: 12-23
When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth ad went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Napthali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Napthali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Getiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has risen.” From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
A story is told of a mother who tore into parts the back page of the magazine she was reading which contained a full-page picture of the world map and then asked her five-year-old daughter to put the picture together. IN no time her little girl completed the puzzle, which astonished the mother. When she asked her daughter how she managed to do it so quickly, the little girl explained that on the reverse side of the page was the picture of a little girl. “You see, Mommy, when I got the Little girl together, the whole world came together.”
Each of us has the responsibility to put our world together. But we need to start with ourselves, get in touch with our own fears and pains. Not that we need to be completely healed, but “fixing” the world and helping others requires strength to face our deep-seated insecurities.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus left Nazareth when he heard that John had been arrested. It was a crisis moment for the Lord. The “voice in the wilderness” Had been silenced – an ominous sigh of terrible things to come. What happened to John could very well happen to him. So he went for a walk by the Sea of Galilee perhaps in an attempt to clear his thoughts, gather his wits, make sense of things, and overcome a creeping sense of uncertainty. It was then that he saw the two brothers Simon and Andrew, casting nets. He called them and immediately they followed him.
The two brothers, being Galileans, were known to be folks of strong character. They were fishermen used to facing storms. With their small boats often tossed in a sea of powerful winds and unpredictable currents, these lowly men developed a sturdy mindset. Fishing had taught them how to work together as a team and toil hard, how to endure the coldness of the night and confront the loneliness of the sea.
The Divine Comedy, an Italian epic poem written by Dante Alighieri, is an allegorical representation of a soul’s journey to God, surviving the evil chasm of hell, journeying through the cleansing path of purgatory, and then entering the ultimate promise of paradise. But the journey is really an interior sojourn into oneself; a profound deciphering of what is going on inside of us, with all the inner turmoil, and how to get to where we should be.
A ‘walking-by-the-sea experience’ could be referred to as a Divine Comedy, a moment of transcendence when we go through ‘hell’ and struggle to stay focused on our efforts to fulfill our God-given mission. Jesus went through it; so did Peter and Andrew. It is now our turn to do the same.
- Fr. Sisoy Cellan (Kenya)