Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
How would you react if you heard that one of your cousins had been arrested? The gospel is silent about Jesus’ thoughts when his cousin John is jailed. But his actions are not silent. He moves from Nazareth to Capernaum and begins his public mission in earnest. It was twofold: to preach and to make whole.
He asked folks to repent, to make a spiritual about-face in their lives for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Those happy with the status quo did not buy the message, but there were many who did and they followed him at personal cost.
In the movie Oh, God the supermarket employee (John Denver) is asked by God (George Burns) to convey a certain unpalatable message to the world. It was a near impossible task. “Besides,” the employee tells God, “preaching your word is costing me my job.” To which God replied, “That’s not a bad trade, is it? Lose your job and save the world.” No, not a bad trade, but how many are willing to make it?
Jesus did. He traveled the countryside, curing every disease, healing lepers, lunatics and paralytics. He spoke truth to power and, like his cousin, paid the ultimate price. He preached and he made whole. He could say finally to his Father: Mission accomplished!
—Fr. Paul Faulstich, S.J. spent many years in India and is now doing pastoral ministry at Loyola University in Chicago.
Lord, let me walk with you, and go where you go—to my sisters and brothers—no matter the cost!
—Paul Faulstich, S.J.