Nobody is useless for Jesus
1. ✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (4:12-23)
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.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
As he walks 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.
He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagoguess, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.
2. The prophecy of Isaiah in today’s first reading (8:23-9:2-3) concerning Zebulun and Naphtali is meant to pass a specific message when it will be fulfilled. The two cities are cities of Galilee having borders with the Gentile nations. This proximity lead to the two cities living a little like Jews, a little like Gentiles. For this reason the Jews themselves regard the inhabitants of the two cities as not being true Jews. They were looked down upon as the Gentiles themselves. Isaiah made a prophecy saying that the inhabitants of Zebulun and Naphtali who live darkness will one day be in great light.
3. Matthew, in today’s gospel says that the prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus chose to begin his ministry in Zebulon and Nephtali in Galilee and used one of their towns, Capanaum as the headquarters of his entire ministry. It was there that he began his preaching, calling people to repentance. It was there that he called his first apostles.
4. This was not serendipitous happening. Jesus knew what he was doing. He wanted to prove that nobody is despised by God because of his origin or the place where he lives. Nobody is useless for God. He can use anybody and any place to achieve his purposes.
5. Peter, Andrew, James and John were not less better apostles than those called from other cities. We must understand that looking down on people because of the preconceived ideas about them is not christian. Jesus gave a chance to the two cities and they proved to be as good or as bad as others.
6. As much as it lies within your power, try to give people equal chance to prove their worth. You might be surprised by the hidden talents and attitudes you will discover in those that you have written off based on popular prejudice. ©Vita, 22/01/23.
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