For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,The Gospel reading takes its narrative from the first reading of today in Isaiah. This is the narrative of the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry, right after John the Baptist had been arrested:
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
In these verses, we are given an exact quote from the first reading of the day:
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.Here we see the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. Jesus goes to the exact lands which are named in Isaiah's prophecy and fulfills this prophecy exactly. It is Jesus who is the Great Light. Jesus is the one who dispels the darkness and brings the people abundant joy and great rejoicing. It is no coincidence that Jesus began His Public Ministry at the exact place where the people of Israel were first taken captive, where God had first exacted His punishment against the Israelites who had rejected Him. Now He was there as a Divine Man bringing them the saving light of the Gospel.
The Gospel reading also tells us that it was in this place that Jesus called four of His disciples - Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and his brother, John. These four men were all fisherman, rugged and crude, smelling of fish, not highly esteemed in their society. Just as Jesus first preached the Gospel to the rejected of society, He chose men who were also society's rejects, first a tax collector named Matthew, and now these crude fishermen.
Amazingly, at the calling of Jesus, all four of these men dropped everything and followed Jesus. James and John even left their father to follow Jesus. This is a great lesson to us. We should always be sensitive to the call of Jesus, ready to turn away from everything that distracts us from His Calling, ready to give up everything. I, for one, am still struggling to get there. I still want to hang on to things of this world. It will only be the grace of God that will enable me to let go and fully give myself to my Lord.
The Gospel reading ends with these words:
He went around all of Galilee,Jesus' great love for the people knew no bounds. It was His mission to bring them salvation, and He let nothing stop Him. He saw a people burdened with sin, and He cured not only their physical diseases but gave them hope and joy.
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
That should be the mission of each one of us. We are not here to spread division, but to bring all people to the saving message of the Gospel.