Memorial of St. John Neumann, bishop (USA)
Old Calendar: St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr
From: Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
Preaching in Galilee. The First Disciples Called
 Now when He (Jesus) heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee;  and leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,  that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:  "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward 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 preach, saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
 And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.  So His fame spread throughout Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them.  And great crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
15-16. Here St. Matthew quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 8:23-9:1. The territory referred to (Zebulun, Naphtali, the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan), was invaded by the Assyrians in the period 734-721 B.C., especially during the reign of Tilgathpilneser III. A portion of the Jewish population was deported and sizeable numbers of foreigners were planted in the region to colonize it. For this reason it is referred to in the Bible henceforth as the "Galilee of the Gentiles".
The Evangelist, inspired by God, sees Jesus' coming to Galilee as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. This land, devastated and abused in Isaiah's time, will be the first to receive the light of Christ's life and preaching. The messianic meaning of the prophecy is, therefore, clear.
17. See the note on Matthew 3:2 This verse indicates the outstanding importance of the first step in Jesus' public ministry, begun by proclaiming the imminence of the Kingdom of God. Jesus' words echo John the Baptist's proclamation: the second part of this verse is the same, word for word, as Matthew 3:2. This underlines the role played by St. John the Baptist as prophet and precursor of Jesus. Both St. John and our Lord demand repentance, penance, as a prerequisite to receiving the Kingdom of God, now beginning. God's rule over mankind is a main theme in Christ's Revelation, just as it was central to the whole Old Testament. However, in the latter, the Kingdom of God had an element of theocracy about it: God reigned over Israel in both spiritual and temporal affairs and it was through Him that Israel subjected other nations to her rule. Little by little, Jesus will unfold the new-style kingdom of God, now arrived at its fullness. He will show it to be a Kingdom of love and holiness, thereby purifying it of the nationalistic misconceptions of the people of His time.
The King invites everyone without exception to this Kingdom (cf. Matthew 22:1-4). The Banquet of the Kingdom is held on this earth and has certain entry requirements which must be preached by the proponents of the Kingdom: "Therefore the Eucharistic celebration is the center of the assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides. Hence priests teach the faithful to offer the divine Victim to God the Father in the sacrifice of the Mass, and with the Victim to make an offering of their whole lives. In the spirit of Christ the pastor, they instruct them to submit their sins to the Church with a contrite heart in the Sacrament of Penance, so that they may be daily more and more converted to the Lord, remembering His words, `Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 5).
23. "Synagogue": this word comes from the Greek and designates the building where the Jews assembled for religious ceremonies on the Sabbath and other feast days. Such ceremonies were non-sacrificial in character (sacrifices could be performed only in the Temple of Jerusalem). The synagogue was also the place where the Jews received their religious training. The word was also used to designate local Jewish communities within and without Palestine.
24. "Epileptic" (or, in some translations, "lunatic"). This word was applied in a very general way to those who had illnesses related to epilepsy. The disease was popularly regarded as being dependent on the phases of the moon (Latin: "luna").
23-25. In these few liens, the evangelist gives us a very fine summary of the various aspects of Jesus' work. The preaching of the gospel or "good news" of the Kingdom, the healing of diseases, and the casting out of devils are all specific signs of the Messiah's presence, according to the Old Testament prophecies (Is 35:5-6; 61:1; 40:9;52:7).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.