The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
January 26, 2020 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 4:12-23
Reporting the news of the day creates interest in our world. Otherwise, we would not have so many television channels reporting newsworthy events - some, twenty-four hours a day. Granted not many people would be tuned into those broadcasts 24/7, but still, we are, in general, a news-hungry and news-conscious group.
In the time of Jesus there was no TV, radio or even newspapers. Thus, if a citizen wanted to know what was going on locally or more widespread, that person depended on people who brought the “news” to each local area. Most likely, “reporters” would simply enter a village or town, walk to a common area and in a voice that could be heard, tell the locals what was going on, perhaps in a neighboring village or with a local ruler or if there were invading armies. In other words, information that allowed locals to make practical decisions, sometimes dealing with matters of life and death.
The news that was brought was sometimes positive and sometimes not. If it was good news, the word used to describe it was “evangelium.” The Latin word for “gospel” or “good news.” That’s how the gospels described the original message of Jesus. Jesus came to bring good news.
And what exactly was it? That God’s kingdom, which involved God’s active presence in the world, had begun with the coming of Jesus. In today’s language, what Israel had hoped for through its many years of waiting for a better time was now operational. And in saying that it was “at hand,” Jesus was saying that there was no need to wait or look for something else. It was present. It was active. It was real.
And it continues to be so to this day. The work of Christ began more than two-thousand years ago and continues today. Right now we are in the midst of God’s kingdom unfolding as God’s Spirit is present and active among us and through us. God’s world is being created day by day.
Right after Jesus announced this “good news,” he went in search of others to help him pass on this message. He needed to assemble a news team. We know his first “reporters” as Peter and Andrew, James and John. Recruiting continued through the centuries. Each of us is invited to spread the good news of Jesus. And we do this first among those we live with by being persons of hope and loving those we encounter each day. Just like Jesus did.
©David M. Thomas, PhD
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