Engaging the Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus begins to preach the Gospel and to call His disciples

Jesus begins his public ministry by preaching the Gospel. While “gospel” is literally translated as “good news,” the word has a much deeper meaning in its historical context, as Pope Benedict XVI has explained:

In Jesus’ time, the term ‘gospel’ was used by Roman emperors for their proclamations. Independently of their content, they were described as ‘good news’ or announcements of salvation, because the emperor was considered lord of the world and his every edict as a portent of good.

Thus, the application of this phrase to Jesus’ preaching had a strongly critical meaning, as if to say God, and not the emperor, is Lord of the world, and the true Gospel is that of Jesus Christ…an announcement that it is God who reigns, that God is Lord and that his lordship is present and actual, it is being realized.

The newness of Christ’s message, therefore, is that God made himself close in him and now reigns in our midst.

Angelus of January 27, 2008

Besides preaching the Gospel, Jesus also calls his first disciples in today’s reading.

These two actions are profoundly related: the Gospel is “the revelation in Jesus Christ of God’s mercy to sinners” (Catechism paragraph 1846), and that divine mercy invites each and every one of us to follow Jesus intimately, calling all to “the fullness of Christian life” and “to holiness” (2013).

Question for reflection: When have I sensed that the Lord was calling me?