The Sweep of History

Recently, I read “The History of Florida” by Michael Gannon, a professor emeritus at the University of Florida. The book is a monographic sweep through Florida history from the pre-Columbian landscape, the settling by native peoples, the arrival of the first European explorers, the history of ethnicity and immigration, and to the changing landscape of life and people that forms the great state we live in. So far I have also learned an amazing amount by the early Franciscan missionaries in Florida and Georgia in the 16th and 17th centuries. It put me in a “historical mindset” when looking at this week’s readings. Continue reading

A Summary of Jesus’ Activities

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  In the previous post we discussed the phrase: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Today we summarize the gospel as a prelude to the Sermon on the Mount – the gospel for the 4th Sunday. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,  Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.” (Mt 4:24-25) Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  In yesterday’s post discussed some insights about fishing in the first century as well as being “caught” in our time. Today we will consider the phrase: “the kingdom of heaven,” a phrase unique to Matthew’s gospel. He often uses it in place of Mark’s “kingdom of God.” Perhaps, if we assume a Jewish background for Matthew, it is a way of avoiding saying and thus possibly misusing the name of God. Continue reading

Fishing

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  In yesterday’s post we looked to the people called to accompany Jesus on his mission. Today we discuss some insights about fishing in the first century as well as being “caught” in our time.Clearly Jesus is calling the disciples to a life with him.  But every “calling to” is by default a “calling from” in some sense. Fishing was not as easy as getting a boat and “having at it.” Continue reading

Calling the Disciples

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  In yesterday’s post we explored the meaning behind the Biblical land travelog that opens our gospel passage. Today we look to the people called to accompany Jesus on his mission.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As he was walking 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 synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. (Mt 4:17-23)
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Biblical Geography

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  In yesterday’s post we placed our gospel reading in context of the unfolding of the events after Jesus’ time in the desert and before the calling of his disciples. In today’s post we explore the meaning behind the Biblical land travelog that opens our gospel passage.

When he 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.” (Mt 4:12-16) Continue reading

Beginning of Public Ministry

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Cycle A when our primary gospel source is from St. Matthew. Our gospel passage is placed after the heavenly voice has identified Jesus as the Son of God in whom He is well pleased in the baptism account (3:13–17). It also follows the text where Jesus proves what kind of Son of God he is during the temptations in the desert (4:1–11). In our passage Jesus journeys from Judea to Galilee in order to begin his public ministry (4:12–17). In the course of this journey Jesus will call his core disciples (vv.18-22) and witness to his proclamation with powerful deeds (vv.23-25).  His journey will cover the wilderness of Judea and the towns of Galilee. This begins with the barest of comments: “When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.” (v.12)  Continue reading