sexta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2016


The people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land
of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
Matthew 4:16 (read 4:12-23) - NIV

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus begins his ministry by using this Old Testament text. Matthew, different from the other evangelists, has Jesus to move from Nazareth to Capernaum, using the text of Isaiah 9:1-2 as justification. This prophecy refers to the region of Capernaum, and Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of the prophecy.

If it were not for the existence of serious problems in the world there would be no need for hope. The theme: “darkness and light” is repeated throughout the biblical narrative. In this prophecy of Isaiah the statement: "The people living in darkness have seen a great light" is valid not only for the people who lived in that vicinity at the time of Isaiah and Jesus, but for all people today who live in "a land of the shadow of death”.

The ministry of Jesus reveals the good news of sunlight and sets the goal for our mission in the world today.

The goal of Jesus was the well-being of people. He crossed the social and religious barriers that separated humanity. His ministry was scandalous because he ignored these taboos by speaking in public with women of questionable life, eating and drinking with people who were discriminated by the "good" citizens, by accepting the affection of a sinful woman, by arguing that another woman guilty of adultery should not be stoned, by touching the untouchable, by desecrating religious rules in order to help the needy and by praising the faith of pagans.

The signs of the Kingdom that he announced were not religious and had nothing to do with public worship or spiritual practices. His signs of the Kingdom were in the settings of daily life. They were bodies and spirits being healed, the hungry being fed, prisoners being visited, the homeless being housed, the naked being clothed, enemies being forgiven and outsiders being accepted. Prayer and almsgiving were practices to be discrete and without public knowledge. Public acts of piety were condemned as hypocrisy. The construction of ornate temples and the assembly of ecclesiastical organizations were not part of the Kingdom that Jesus announced.

The Kingdom of God is always near. It is where there are manifestations of compassion, the acceptance of others without discrimination and the forgiveness of offences. The Kingdom is where there is love, peace, joy and faith.

Repentance means the inversion of our value system. The Kingdom within us causes us to change our priorities. For example, the priority of Simon, Andrew, James and John was first the fishing net, and after meeting Jesus it became people. Outside the Kingdom we love things and use people. Within the Kingdom we love people and use things. The Kingdom reverses values. That's how the light shines in the darkness. It has to shine through the way we practice our faith in relation to our fellow human beings. We must be a light that points to the Greater Light.


When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

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