Jesus initiates His public ministry and announces the programme. The work of God’s salvation foretold by Isaiah is fulfilled. Already the first fruits are maturing. The “good news” announced by Jesus continues to resound today and summons us. Evangelized, we are invited to evangelize. “Galilee of the nations”: Galilee was a region despised by those who matter”. As it was said to Nichodemus: “Check and see, prophets do not come from Galilee” (Jn 7:52; cf Jn1:46). But this is the place chosen by Jesus to begin His ministry. It should not surprise us: it is characteristic of the divine style (cf 1 Cor 26:29). Moreover, the future Messiah was pre-announced as one who would bring the good news of salvation to the “poor”. Jesus Himself recalls it at Nazareth” (cf Lk 4:16-21).
Does the “Galilee of the nations” still exist? “The Galilee of the nations” seen by the prophet Isaiah as “covered by darkness” is perpetuated as symbol of humanity in need of salvation. It can, therefore, be found everywhere. On the other, as land of the “poor” it represents the necessary condition in order to receive salvation. In fact, only the one who recognizes his poverty before God can receive divine gift. The love of God is faithfulness and predilection for the humble as Mary sings in the “Magnificat”.
Are practicing Christians also Galileans? There is a problem. Which addressees does the appeal of Jesus have today? Is it right to stick the tag only on those who are distant: the non-baptized, non-believers, neo-pagans, sinners? Is it right to auto exclude ourselves from the offer of salvation because we are baptized and faithful practicing members? Do we maintain that the message of Jesus does not now concern us? Attention! In this case we risk, like the Blind who think they see (cf Jn 9:39-41) to allow Jesus pass-us-by without opening the door of our heart (Rev 3:20). “Timeo Dominum transeuntem”!
The Kingdom of God – Jesus calls, invites to enter the Kingdom of God; the royalty of God on men. Royalty which Jesus reveals to us as “fatherhood”; love and mercy, light of truth and joy of intimacy, grace, gift. Royalty to which communion and participation is essential as Jeremiah foretold: “This is the covenant which I shall make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord… I will put my law in their heart, I will write it in the heart. Then I will be their God and they my people” (Jer 31:33). The call to the Kingdom of God – From the “Galilee of the nations”, therefore, Jesus calls us to the Kingdom of God. Not once for all, but in continuation. All and always. For some of us, at the first fundamental call our parents responded. With baptism we became part of the Kingdom of God. This is not enough. In fact what was fulfilled then, should gain and always be fulfilled: the Kingdom of God in us demands growth without interruption because it is life – the life of the children of God. Life, every life, is not static but dynamic.
To be converted in order to grow – The problem is not only receiving Jesus and His gospel of salvation. It is necessary to express in our existence the richness of Christ and this as dynamism of a new life received and as criterion for new behaviour (not the old man, but the new man should act in us). It is, therefore, necessary to daily respond to the gifts received, seeking to be assimilated to Christ in a way always more evident, till we enter the Spirit of the beatitudes. In short, this journey does not admit of interruption. But if it happens that there is a stoppage or digression, it is necessary to know to take again the right course In fact our earthly condition does not make us immuned to sin and exempt from temptation. At every step we experience the weight of a weakness never definitively overcome. Further, the wisdom of this world tends to undermine our fidelity to Christ and to drown our hope, deceiving us with earthly, transitory hopes. To respond to call of Jesus, therefore, demands fidelity and continues conversion, purification and perseverance. Fishers of Men – There is more. We should make ourselves witnesses of the Kingdom. Evangelized, we have to evangelize. It is the duty of the Church. It is our duty. “I will make you fishers of men”. Jesus did not say this only to Peter and fellows. He says it to the Church; He says it to all His faithful. Inspite of the diversity and variety of vocations and ministries, we all should be “fishers of men”.
Evangelizers in the “lay” life: The task of evangelizers is not reserved. It is everybody’s duty including the lay faithful before and above all, the parents. They have the precise duty of making the children grow in that life of the children of God which they asked for them when they presented them for baptism. It is unthinkable and unchristian – as many do – to delegate this duty exclusively to priests and catechists. It is unthinkable to restrict this concern only to the time of First Communion and Confirmation preparations. It is unthinkable that they do not give them good examples in the consistency of Christian instead of denying them the oxygen with a dissipated family atmosphere of those living like pagans.
Harmony of voices – Only living the christian life coherently can one bear witness and evangelize. Like a large choir in great harmony, the voices of Christians should proclaim the world the great invitation of Jesus.
God bless you!