In my last Mindwalk (Imagine that!) I thought about God’s Imagination and God’s gift to us of imagination.
Today I ask you to imagine where you might expect Jesus would begin his mission and who would he choose?
How to begin and choose helpers?
Where would you begin?
Would you work from outside in… or inside out.
Would you begin in the heart of Jewish world, Jerusalem?
Or would you start outside in hostile territory?
Who would you choose to help you?
Would you put out a call for best resumes from the best priests and politicians?
Or would you go to the highways and byways and call ordinary people?
Moving beyond your expectation to history
For most of the next 30 Sundays Catholics will hear snippets from the Gospel of Matthew. We will hear Matthew’ version of how Jesus, the Word made flesh, prepared himself, and began to spread that Good News.
Matthew first retraces the beginning of Jesus’ mission announcing the ‘kingdom of heaven’. This kingdom does not involve the establishment of a new political power, but rather the fulfillment of the covenant between God and His people, which will inaugurate a season of peace and justice.
How did Jesus prepare himself? Where did he begin? Who did he call?
I was struck by Pope Francis reflection on these questions.
Where did Jesus begin?
Pope Francis notes that he left Nazareth. He settled in Capernaum, an important center on the shore of the lake, inhabited mostly by pagans, and a crossroads between the Mediterranean and the Mesopotamian hinterland.
“This choice indicates that those to whom He preached were not only his fellow countrymen, but also those who dwelt in the cosmopolitan ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’, as it was known. Seen from the capital Jerusalem, that land is geographically peripheral and religiously impure, since it was full of pagans, from mingling with those who were not of Israel.
Great things for the history of salvation were certainly not expected from Galilee. Nonetheless, it was from precisely there … the light of Christ. It spread, indeed, from the periphery”.
Who did Jesus call?
Jesus chooses to be an itinerant prophet. He does not wait for the people, but instead moves towards them. …
His first missionary outings take place along the Lake of Galilee, in contact with the crowd, and especially with the fishermen.
There, Jesus not only proclaims the coming of the kingdom of God, but also seeks out companions to associate with His mission of salvation.
He meets two pairs of brothers – Simon and Andrew, James and John – and calls to them, saying, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’.
The call reaches them in the midst of their daily activity: the Lord reveals Himself to them not in an extraordinary or striking way, but in their everyday life.
There we must find the Lord; and there He reveals Himself … and with this dialogue with Him in our everyday life, our heart is changed.
The response of the four fisherman is immediate and prompt: ‘Immediately they left their nets and followed Him’.
The awareness of these beginnings inspires in us the desire to take the word, love and tenderness of Jesus to every context, even the most impervious and resistant.
Take the word to every periphery! All the spaces of human life are the terrain on which the seed of the Gospel can be thrown, so that it may bear the fruits of salvation”.
Next week Mathew begins to show ordinary people what living in the kingdom looks like.
How many of us would have started from the outside?
Can we really imagine ourselves being chosen in the midst of our daily life to spread the “Good News”?