JAN. 4. CHRISTMAS SEASON. MATT. 4. 12-17, 23-25
Updated: Jul 24
Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’
From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.
“The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light!” How appropriate this proclamation for this Christmas Season when Christ took on our human nature in order, not only to redeem us; - not only to bestow numerous gifts on us; - but most importantly to teach us how our Creator wishes us to live?
And we need to pause here and consider a massive lesson Christ has given us that we rarely ponder or consider, and that is the ninety per cent of his life about which we know nothing, and I am referring to the Hidden Life of our teacher, leader and King.
We have spent the days around Christmas reflecting on the infant Jesus, his mother, and his birth in a stable, but because the Gospels reveal nothing of the previous thirty years, today’s reading makes a thirty year leap to the adult Jesus; - who is already focusing on his coming Passion and Death! What is Christ teaching us in this thirty years of his hidden life?
There are many lessons! The need for preparation; - the need for prayer; - the need for purification; - the need for Faith; - the need to reject the world’s values; - the need for Humility; - the value of the “hidden” and “ordinary” life; - just to name a few!
From our infancy our world and it’s values teach us the importance of attaining “success”; - of gaining “wealth”; - of having “possessions”; - of having “knowledge”; - of having “influence”; - of being “attractive”; - of experiencing “pleasure and comfort”; - to name a few!
But Christ, by the thirty years of his hidden life, has shown us how we should reject these worldly values and instead follow his example, where he sought and desired nothing except to do the Will of God the Father; - a very simple, but also a very profound lesson?
Christ’s hidden life was a time of preparation for the God-given Mission that was ahead of him. It was also a time of purification, where his heart had to be purified of its attraction for the world’s comforts and pleasures; - so he ‘loved’ only God! A road he wants us to follow!
Christ spent 30 years preparing for 3 years of public life; - a powerful lesson for his followers?
Gospel Acclamation Matthew 4:23
Jesus preached the Good News of the kingdom
and healed all who were sick.