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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

 

JOHN AND JESUS (MATTHEW 4:12-23)

Jesus departed to Galilee when He heard John was jailed; by this, He is showing us not to go out and meet temptations. Rather, you must depart. It is not cowardice to run away from danger. Cowardice is when, after falling into sin, you fail to stand up.

Jesus, very often, had two reasons for His actions. Here,  He went to Capernaum to avoid the envy of the Jews but at the same time to meet the Teachers who usually went and trained in Capernaum. Christ's going to the Gentiles was occasioned by the plotting of the Jews.

"The land of Naphtali by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people which sat in darkness, saw a great light." The Gentiles in Capernaum were not seeking God. Yet God showed Himself to them. "Light is sprung up." Mankind was in such a bad shape. They no longer walked in darkness; "they sat in darkness. . ."; they were despairing. "They sat. . ." because they did not know where to go. "Overtaken by darkness. . ." they were unable to stand.

John and Jesus had perfect teamwork. While John preached, Christ did not. While John preached, Christ performed no miracles. So, there was a smooth transition of disciples from John to Christ. In spite of all these precautions, some of John's followers were still jealous of Christ. So, when Christ began to preach, to help smoothen the transition, He preached the same doctrines that John preached. Christ preached nothing severe or grievous. He first preached the glad tidings. 

Peter and Andrew had been listening to Christ. But Christ took it easy with them , allowing them to go back to their homes and occupations. But see how well instructed they were by their ready obedience in abandoning everything when called; they did not delay. No one said: "Let's first go home, fix our things and say good-bye." Being in the midst of their work, hearing the command, they obeyed. They did not even fold their nets.

This is the obedience which Christ seeks of us; that we delay, not even for a moment, even if something seemingly important presses on us.  And so the young disciple who wanted to bury his father was not allowed to do so.

James and John were poor; "they were mending their nets." They could not afford new nets. They were working with their own hands. . .and with their father, which shows closeness within the family. They were taking their poverty with ease, engaged in honest labor, bound to one another by love. They, too, answered without delay.

All the above personages showed great faith in that, nothing pertaining to this life was of any interest to them. They all esteemed, above all the commands of Christ.

St. John Chrysostom,  Homily XIV

 

 

 

 

 

(01-05-04)

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