Choose your language EoF

Gospel for Sunday January 24: Mark 1: 14-20

Mark 1: 14-20

14After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the gospel of God and saying: 15“The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near; convert and believe in the gospel”.16Passing along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting their nets into the sea; they were in fact fishermen. 17Jesus said to them: “Follow me, I will make you become fishers of men”.18And immediately, leaving their nets, they followed him. 19Going a little further, he also saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John on the boat while they were mending the nets.  20He called them. And they, leaving their father Zebedee on the boat with the boys, followed him.

Mark 1: 14-20

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

Having completed the Old Testament with the death of John the Baptist, Jesus begins his preaching and begins it in Galilee.

For some exegetes, the Gospel of Mark is a Galilaic Gospel, that is, written for the churches that were in Galilee, or for the benefit of the church of Jerusalem which, after the persecution of the 70s, was dispersed in Galilee.

Galilee is the land with which the Gospel opens and closes, because Jesus will say: “When I am resurrected, you will see me in Galilee” (Mk 14.28). Galilee is the main theater of Jesus’ activity:

  1. a) a land that borders the pagans: it was called “Galilea gentium”, “Galilee of the Gentiles”, because it was in contact with all the pagan populations: those of today’s Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. It was a land of exchange, therefore it was a land considered impure because if the Jews touched a pagan they were impure, and had to perform ablutions, immerse themselves, and comply with various other requirements to regain purity. So the inhabitants of Galilee were always impure, they could never enter the Temple, never pray, because the pagans had them at home and necessarily had to deal with them, talk together, live side by side. It was therefore a land of poor people, of the contaminated, of the despised. It was the land of the last, it was the land of the “pariahs”, of the excluded. In this land Jesus begins his preaching, and the disciples will leave from there to preach.
  2. b) it is a “hot” land: there were religious movements, there were revolutionary movements, it was a land of struggle. Jesus had some, we might say, “extremists” in his little group. For example, Judas Iscariot, that is, the man of the iskar, the man of the “dagger”: Judas was someone who went around armed. Peter himself on the night of Gethsemane drew his sword and with a clean blow took away an ear of the servant of the High Priest. Giacomo and Giovanni were called boanerghès, “sons of thunder”, or “sons of tumult”: it was probably a way of speaking to indicate their belonging to a revolutionary movement. Jesus also took with him some “hotheads” who saw in him the triumphant Messiah, the powerful and glorious Messiah: they will all run away, because they will say, at the moment of the cross: “You have betrayed us: we believed that you would rebuild the Kingdom of Israel ” (Acts 1:6).

In this land of the last, of the despised, and even of “extremists”, Jesus announces: “The Kingdom of God is near”. In ancient Semitism the Kingdom of God is a circumlocution to indicate that God is near. This is the subject of the Good News: God is near. This is the news that announces peace, happiness, salvation.

The only condition to enter into this joy is: “Convert, change your life, and believe in the Gospel!”. To have God with you you must change your life and attach yourself to the Gospel. This Gospel is Jesus Christ. The happy news is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ who is close to us. Jesus Christ is the Kingdom of God near us. Then we must convert, that is, become bored, turn our life 180 degrees, that is, turn towards him and rely on him.

Jesus then calls the first disciples: four fishermen, while they are working. God’s call always comes to us unexpectedly, surprising. God seizes us while we are immersed in daily life: this was the case for Moses who was a shepherd (Ex 3), for Gideon the farmer (Jude 6), for Saul the donkey driver (1 Sam 9), for Amos (Am 1) and David (1 Sam 16) the herdsmen, shepherds. We never create our vocation: it is God who calls us, it is God who chooses us in a surprising and unexpected way. Following is not a conquest: it is being conquered, it is being taken, being chosen by Jesus.

Two notes:

  1. a) Jesus is the only Rabbi of whom it is known, in the history of Judaism, that he chose his disciples. Even now, it is always the disciples who choose a Rabbi, a teacher. To be clear, it would be as if we weren’t the ones choosing whether to go to scientific high school, classical high school, or surveyor or various professional institutes… No! Here it is the Principal who calls you and says: “Come!”.
  2. b) The Word of Christ is powerful: it always comes true. This whole section is right under this sign. The dominant theme is the authoritative Word of Jesus, authoritative in operating and teaching. Let us be seduced by this Word, which alone is the “Gospel”, Joyful News.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

You might also like