If we are to read well, then we must first set the scene before we get involved in the detail. We have now had an overview of the whole Gospel, we have some idea about what is happening at that level.
Now, we need a overview, a first reading, of the first chapter before we begin reading it in detail. Our reading will be following the chapters because that keeps the organisation simple.
Here I am taking the first chapter as a unit not simply because it has been labelled a chapter but because, as we will soon see, chapter 2 will open a new stage in the unfolding story. It is always the text which must guide us as we try to follow the way the story develops.
Read through chapter 1. First, you will find a major division in the chapter. Where do you think this is? What is different between the first part of the chapter and what follows in the second part? The main clue is the change of place but there is also the change of activity as well.
Then go through the chapter and sort out its various sections. What happens in the first part?
Then look at the different incidents which are covered after Jesus returns to Galilee following his baptism. Consider first why I take chapter 2 as a new beginning. Then see which two incidents take place on the same day. Two more incidents then followed which begin with a reference to time. When does the new day begin in Judaism?
Now have a look at my response
The Prologue must be the first page for our reading: 1,1-15. We will though read the last two verses in detail on the following page.
The call of the disciples, 1,16-20, is then best taken as a page on its own, even though it is a short scene. We will also read here the last two verses of the prologue: 1,14-20. As we will see, 1,14-20 forms a Sunday Gospel.
The third page will then be the two sabbath healings: 1,21-31.
The two overnight scenes can then follow on the next page and to them we can add the healing of the leper: 1,32-45
Four Sundays, Sundays 3 to 6 of Ordinary Time, present this opening chapter of Jesus's ministry, 1,14-45.
As it happens, in 2015 these are the Sundays of Ordinary time before the beginning of Lent.
However, the Sunday readings presented in the Lectionary do not follow my reading the chapter, as we will see. The aim of this project is to be a biblical reading following the clues left by the evangelist. We will then need to read the Sunday Gospels based on our discoveries. This will give us a better understanding of the Lectionary selections.
I say frequently that it is good practice to read the Sunday readings in the Bible itself and not just as they have been arranged in the Lectionary.
We are now ready for our reading of the Prologue.