15. THE EVENT BEGAN IN GALILEE. Jesus teaches and heals

Created: Tuesday, 02 July 2013 Last Updated: Saturday, 31 August 2013

15. THE EVENT BEGAN IN GALILEE
Jesus teaches and heals


1.- From the beginning, the reference point for the incipient Church was what Jesus said and did, it is to say, his teaching and his action, his mission. Nowadays we do the same thing if we take in our hands the own Jesus´ mission, if we listen like if it were addressed to us the word of  the Resurrected Lord that says: “Like the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (Jn 20, 21), We can ask ourselves if it really is so.
2.- Like Peter said in Cornelius´ home, “the event began in Galilee” (Acts 10, 37). The beginnings come from this fact: Jesus´ baptism, a model for all future believers. The baptism puts forward the relationship between the Father and Jesus. Heavens open, break its silence and this word is heard: “You are my son, my beloved one, my favourite” (Mk 1, 11). It is evoked here, exceeding it, the figure of the Servant of Yahweh: Look to my servant…, my chosen one in whom I delight (Is 42,1), The word becomes alive by the action of God’s Spirit and a new man is born, a new world: “Heaven opened before him and he saw the Spirit coming down on him like a dove (Is 42,1). This baptism assures and exceeds John’s baptism. John baptizes “in water for conversion”. Jesus baptizes “in the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3,11), “in water and in Spirit (Jn 3, 5).
3.- Going over any temptation against his own mission (Mt 4,1-11), when John is arrested, Jesus initiates his predication in Galilee, at the other bank of the Jordan, the gentiles´ Galilee. His message is this: “Change your ways; the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mt 4,17; see Is 52,7). Jesus´ announcement breaks with strength into a chained, obscured, needed of liberation ground: “The people who lived in darkness saw a great light” (Mt 4,16). Jesus announces God’s action and calls to conversion. But Jesus message (it is a true challenge) reaches a world in which the opposite experience is evidently the dominating atmosphere. The world disregards God, ignores his action along history and does not believe possible (or necessary) any conversion.
4.- Moving continuously, in the open air (Mt 5,2), in the homes (Mk 2,1), in the synagogues (Mt 2,1), in the temple (Lk 19,47), Jesus does not have other strength that the seed that he sows and produces a crop (Mt 13, 3-9. 18-23), the Word that is accomplished in history: God speaks, God acts. The Kingdom comes when God’s word is addressed to men. The Word grows, without knowing how, by its own power (Mk 4,26-29). It ferments and raises the world like the yeast buried in the mass (Mt 13, 33). Jesus inserts directly the feeling of the closeness of God to anyone who approaches him with sincere heart. The disciples are witnesses of it. Jesus tells them: “Fortunate are you to see what you see” (Lk 10, 23-24). Jesus carries in himself the Kingdom of God. That gives to his person an authority with no equal: “The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught with authority unlike the teachers of the Law” (Mt 7,28-29).
5.- With his call to conversion, Jesus confronts us with the living God. Not only you will not have other gods (Dt 5,7), but also you will set your heart first on the kingdom of God and his justice (Mt 6,33). Not only you will not take the name of Yahweh in vain (Dt 5,11) but you will not take an oath for any promise (Mr 4,33-34): Not only you will keep holy the Sabbath day (Dt 4,1215) but that the Sabbath was made for man (Mk 2,27) and you will be fed with the bread of life (Jn 6,35-51). Not only you will honour your father and your mother (Dt 5,16), but also those who listen the Word of God will be your family (Mk 31-35). Not only you will not kill (Dt 5,16), but you will also love your enemy (Mt 5, 43-46). Not only you will not commit adultery 5,18), but you will not fornicate (Sir 41,17), nor you will desire the wife of your neighbour (Dt 5,21), but you will be faithful with all your heart (Mt 5,27-30). Not only you will not steal (Dt 5,19), but you will share your possessions (Lk 18,8-10). Not only you will not give false testimony against your neighbour (Dt 5,20), but you will forgive and excuse (Mt 18,21-22) and you will walk in the truth (Jn 8,32). The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on God’s love and love to the neighbour (Mt22,40).
6.- Jesus calls to conversion announcing that the kingdom or God is in action. Because of this event conversion is offered gratuitously, freely. It is besides offered to men who, by themselves, cannot accomplish the law. If such an announcement were not made like a grace, it would not be received like good news, but like bad news. Man is submitted to powerful lords that do not allow him to change by his own will: “none of you keep the Law” (Jn 7,19), says Jesus to the Jews (and they want to kill him). The man needs to be born from above (Jn3,3-7), it is to say, from God’s spirit. Nevertheless, if the man changes, if he follows a serious process of conversion, then it is because the kingdom of God is among us (see Lk 11,20).
7.- Jesus teaches to the crowd through parables (Mk 4,2), but he dedicates only to his apostles a special teaching (4,14), sharing with them the secrets of the kingdom of God. Jesus teaches them to listen to the Word, “the word of the kingdom (Mt 13,19), he teaches them the new justice, which exigencies appear summed up in the Sermon of the Mountain (Mt 5,1-48); in adequate time, he teaches them to pray (Lk 11,1-4); finally he shares with them his own mission and sends them to evangelise (Mk 3,14).
8.- While evangelising, Jesus is not alone, he is with his disciples: the twelve (Mt 10,1) and, outside his inner circle, the group following Jesus (8,21) and, also, the seventy two who Jesus sends in mission (Lk 10,1), The community is the new disciple’s family where the brotherhood love is alive (Mk 4,34; Jn 13,35), and where loaves are multiplied, whenever sharing (Jn 6, 5-15), the school where the Gospel’s special teaching is received, the mission’s centre from where the received Gospel is propagated.
9.- In order to carry out his mission, Jesus does not identify himself with any of  the social and religious groups of his time: the Sadducees (belonging to the Jewish aristocracy and the sacerdotal institution, collaborationists with the roman power), the zealots (in pro of a violent revolution, coming from the working class), the Pharisees (strict observant of the Law of Moses and non-politics), the essenes (religious ascetics who depart themselves from the world),  the scribes (intellectual minority, dedicated to teach the Scriptures, without listening the Word). Jesus did not join those circles and makes his option for the poor, for the “crowd harassed and helpless” (Mt 9,36). So Isaiah’s prophecy is accomplished: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind” (Lk 4, 18).
10.- The scribes and Pharisees blame Jesus of respecting neither the Law (613 precepts), nor the Saturday (see Mk 2,15-28. 7,1-23). They also charge him with what they see as a scandalous custom: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Lk 15,2). Jesus defends himself: “I have come to call to repentance; I call the sinners, not the righteous” (Lk 5,32), and also: “I have not come to remove the Law and Prophets, but to fulfil them” (Mt 5,17).
11.- In Jesus´ mission the facts go with the words (see DV 2). Jesus announces a word that is accomplished. Signs accompany predication. This is what Jesus expresses to John’s messengers: “Go back and tell John what you saw and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the poor are given good news” (Lk 7, 22) Jesus teaches and heals (Mt 9,35), he evangelises wherever life seems threatened, diminished or even truncated: “”I came so they have life and they have it abundantly (Jn 10, 10). The  signs or miracles are God’s Word made event. Today like yesterday this wording is not understood by the arrogant man, but it is noticed by that what - knowing that nothing is impossible for God - embraces God’s action in history, when the context of the fact indicates that God in making signals
* Dialogue: Are we living today what began in Galilee?