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Jesus, My Lord and God
Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.
Opening Prayer: Lord, a great crowd followed you during your ministry. Allow me, Lord, to stand among them and hear your voice as I recollect myself to pray.
- Fully Aware: Jesus ate, drank, preached, traveled, and prayed fully and completely aware of his Father’s presence and expectations for him. Jesus began his public ministry in a way that fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy, to confirm for future generations that he is the Messiah, redeemer, and savior of the world. Everything Jesus did was deliberate and rooted in his love for the Father and mankind. This knowledge causes us to appreciate one mysterious quality of the Trinity: omniscience. God knew and knows everything all at once. We surrender our limited understanding to this mind-blowing fact and worship Our Lord in humility and awe.
- Repent: John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2), and Matthew the Evangelist recorded Jesus speaking identical words as he began his public ministry. The message couldn’t be clearer then—or now. Have politics, pandemics, materialism, secularism, or any other cultural influences zapped your joy and drained your hope? Repent. Ours is an almighty God. We rest in his loving care. Has complacency or acedia hardened your heart? Repent. Muster your willpower, ask for God’s grace, and get back on track. Has frequent unconfessed sin robbed you of peace? Repent. Our Lord died to forgive and redeem us. All we need to do is repent. As often as we are willing to humble ourselves and repent, Jesus will be there waiting for us in the confessional with hands outstretched, ready to absolve us.
- Crowd Pleaser: From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus attracted crowds—those eager to be physically healed, those seeking spiritual nourishment, and those simply curious. Crowds still follow Jesus, but the important question is, “Why do you follow Jesus?” Prayerfully consider your favorite attributes of Jesus. Here are some suggestions from the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus: Jesus, splendor of the Father, brightness of everlasting light, king of glory, dawn of justice, Son of the Virgin Mary, worthy of our love, worthy of our wonder, mighty God, Father of the world to come, prince of peace, all-powerful, pattern of patience, model of obedience, gentle and humble of heart, lover of chastity, lover of us all, God of peace, author of life, model of goodness, seeker of souls, our refuge, Father of the poor, treasure of the faithful, Good Shepherd, the true light, eternal wisdom, infinite goodness, our way and our life, joy of angels, king of patriarchs, teacher of apostles, master of evangelists, courage of martyrs, light of confessors, purity of virgins, crown of all saints.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you are omniscient, all-powerful, generous, and good. I could spend the rest of my days striving to know you better and not have scratched the surface. Thank you for opening my mind and heart to repent of my wrongdoings, confident in the knowledge that you love me and created me for heaven, where, by your grace, I may ponder your qualities for all eternity.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will choose one aspect of your divinity (e.g., joy of angels, Good Shepherd) and pray for a deeper understanding of your grandeur.
For Further Reflection: Read a few pages of one of the Gospels and write down every quality of Jesus described in those lines.
Written by Maribeth Harper.