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.”
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
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.
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.
My grandmother lived two doors down from The Handy Grocery. The name let everyone know that all they had to do was to pick out what they needed, put it in their shopping basket, and check out.
What does my grandmother’s grocery store have to do with the Kingdom of God? I think quite a bit. The Kingdom of God is “at hand” (“handy”) according to Jesus. He might have meant it was getting closer by the minute, but also that it was within arm’s reach.
If the Kingdom is so close that we can reach out and touch it, then when we look at what is right around us, perhaps we’ll see the Kingdom of God there.
It may take some time and effort to retrain our vision so we get better at seeing what (or who) is right around us. Just go to a public place like a mall and spend time just looking at what’s around you. It’s not difficult and it’s not a bad way to pray. If Jesus is right, we might catch a glimpse of God’s Kingdom there.
—Fr. Frank Majka, S.J., a Wisconsin Jesuit, is engaged in pastoral ministry at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.
Lord, you never grow impatient. You never take a day off from pursuing us. We take great comfort in knowing you always have your hand upon us and those we love. If there is any relationship, any decision, or any unsettled conversation that needs our attention, let us first come to you for direction. And should we need to change our way of thinking, we ask you for the courage and humility to do so.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team