El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Fellowship International
Daily Gospel Reading - January 3, 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry

12When he heard that John had been arrested, [Jesus] withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 15“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,/ the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,/ Galilee of the Gentiles,/ 16the people who sit in darkness/ have seen a great light,/ on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death/ light has arisen.”
17From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
23He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. 24His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

When he heard that John had been arrested

The ministry of Jesus starts with this sad note or trying experience. But Jesus does not hide in fear. He does not sulk in a corner, weeping for this last prophet. The negative experience, in fact, urges him on, as it were, to begin his ministry.

Many turning points in our lives began with some sad news: after Papa died, after our house was burned down, after my business went bankrupt, after our relationship hit rock bottom… These negative experiences should not define our life. Our attitude, attempts, and efforts to rise from difficult situations ought to define our real life story.

The call to change our ways is sometimes a call to change how we look at things. Negative experiences challenge us to change what we can with our lives, to move on and live for our loved ones who have made the opening for us!

Galilee of the Gentiles

At the time of Jesus’ public ministry, Israel was divided by Rome into three provinces. A Roman prefect (Pontius Pilate) controlled Jerusalem and Judea; Herod Antipas was in charge of Jesus’ home country of Galilee; and Herod Philip ruled the northern part of Ituraea, including the capital Caesarea Philippi. The evangelist Matthew situates the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee where Jews and Gentiles live together.

Start with just one resolution this first Monday of the year.
Daily Gospel Reading - January 2, 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Matthew 2:1-12

The Visit of the Magi

1When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
6‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,/ are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;/ since from you shall come a ruler,/ who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
7Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” 9After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. 10They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 11and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Then they offered him gifts

The real gift of the Magi is that, after giving their presents, they fade away quietly. They do not make a big fuss of their good deed and their generosity. Their real courage is to do a good deed and then disappear. They know that the focus is on the recipient and not on themselves as donors.

The challenge in life is sometimes about how to do good things and exit, how to live and let go, how to do our part and bow. That is how we will be remembered more fondly. That is how God will notice our star when it has faded into the night.

We can do this only by remembering that Jesus is the center, the reason, and the intention of all our being and doing. Never ourselves! Like the Magi, let us continue searching for Jesus in the land of our lives; finding him, we humbly offer our efforts and gifts, and then go quietly and gently—but proudly—into the night.

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