THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
T he Gospel today shows us that Jesus begins his mission at Capernaum in Galilee. He withdrew from Nazareth to Galilee a very important move for the beginning of Jesus ‘public life. What do we know about Galilee? It was a large province where many people from different cultures, race and ethnic groups live for centuries. Galilee was a very cosmopolitan city located on the northern region surrounded by three major important roads. The first main road by the sea leads to and from Egypt, the second one going to Damascus in Syria and the other going to Tyre and Sidon by the Mediterranean border.
As we can see, Galilee was an international corner rich with a dense cultures and great civilization. It very influenced and contaminated by the pagan world. At some point due to the cosmopolitism reality the name was Galilee of the nations. This is why we can understand when the prophet announced these territories are going to receive also the salvation. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown” said Isaiah in the first reading.
After 30 years living in the tranquility of Nazareth, so going to live there was like living our small villages and establish at some huge city in other part of US where there are novelty, technology, turbulence, pluralism as well as insecurity of whatever the form we can imagine it. This is where, at this shameful place, Jesus has chosen to go and moreover his first disciples and collaborators are from this pagan and sinful region. Talking to some of them he said: “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. They were ordinary people; neither theologian, nor scholars, or Levites. They were just ordinary people like you, like me.
In Capernaum Jesus begins a new mission and his preaching. He is speaking to everyone. The entire Gospel shows that he came to call and to save. The Good News is for everyone and no exclusions whatsoever. The core of his message was the same as John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. This word “repent” is a very important expression for our understanding. It carries out a huge change of our vision of the world, of us all and of our society. The word, repent invites us to turn our sight to God and let ourselves be guided by his grace and place our total trust in Him. To follow and to repent entail another word or expression: which is “leaving behind”. Jesus always expects this act of renunciation, to leave behind our formal life and start something new and work for the kingdom of God. How do you receive that call today?
Rev. Ducasse François
"The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to
bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim
liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year
acceptable to the Lord."