Jesus begins His public ministry in Galilee, fulfilling ancient prophecy and calling His first Apostles. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by build the Virtue of Prudence so he can repent and engage in the Spiritual Combat and by growing in the Virtue of Magnificence so he can take up the magnificent work of Jesus Christ.
3rd Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 4:12-23
Following the miraculous manifestation of God the Father and the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism, and His grueling 40-day ordeal in the wilderness, Jesus emerges from the wilderness and learns that John the Baptist has been arrested. Jesus returns to the region of Galilee, first to His home-town of Nazareth, and then relocates to the larger and more important trading town of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus’ choice to begin His public ministry in Galilee fulfills past prophecy (Is 8:23-9:1), and establishes future prophecy. Looking to the past, the land of Galilee was home to the ancient Jewish tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali which were the first to be exiled 800 years earlier; now the people of this region are the first to be redeemed by Jesus. Looking to the future, Jesus is the great light who will call all men, including Gentiles (non-Jews) to His Holy Catholic Church. In anticipation of the establishment of His Catholic Church, Jesus urges all to repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.
The calling of the first Apostles by Jesus is stunning for a number of reasons. Acting more as a King than a rabbi, Jesus calls His men to Himself; traditionally, men would choose the rabbi they wished to follow. Rather than finding a following among the learned or well-connected, Jesus calls ordinary working-class men, men with no formal education or connections to wealth or power. It is also striking, with only a simple call by Christ, that all four of these Apostles (Peter, Andrew, James and John) immediately follow, leaving their livelihoods and possessions (their nets and boats); remarkably, James and John even leave their father Zebedee.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, Divine King and greatest Leader, with mysterious Divine Knowledge, recruits men who appear to be unexceptional (lowly fisherman), who are immediately compelled by the powerful Charisma of Jesus to leave everything (families, work, homes) and who will go on to carry out exceptional acts of evangelization and martyrdom, which fundamentally change world history as they build Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
Pursue prudence and repent in the Spiritual Combat
Realize: Jesus commands that men must repent from sin as the first required step of the spiritual life (Mk 1:15); growing in the spiritual life requires a man to engage in the Spiritual Combat of continual repentance, for men must be cleansed of sin on the path to sainthood and Heaven. A Catholic man can become “stuck” in his spiritual life when he imprudently stops paying attention to the sins that pop up and enslave him.
Believe: Reflect upon Repentance (CCC 1422-1498).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Prudence, help me grow in the Virtue of Prudenceso I can shrewdly use my reason to rigorously Examine my Conscience, identify and repent from my sins, and be forgiven by You in the Sacrament of Penance.
Take up the magnificent work of Jesus
Realize: Some Catholic men do not yet realize they are called, just like Jesus called the Apostles, to evangelize, to be “fishers of men” who bring many to Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church; every Catholic man will be held to account by Jesus for his effectiveness in bringing others to Him.
Believe: Reflect upon your personal Prophetic Office (CCC 904-907, 1302-1305, 1316-1317).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me grow in the Virtue of Magnificence (a part of Fortitude) so that I might always take on the great mission to be a heroic prophet who Your Son uses to build His Kingdom of Heaven.