If we are to read well, then we need first to 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 come to the opening chapter and so we need an overview, a first reading of the chapter before we can begin reading it in detail. Our reading of the Gospel will normally be based upon the chapters because that keeps the organisation of our reading simple. We will always begin each chapter with an overview.
Here I am taking the first chapter as a unit not simply because it has been marked out as a chapter but because the next chapter opens a new stage in the unfolding story. Consider therefore why I take chapter 2 as a new beginning. 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 the difference 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 a change of activity as well.
Then go through the chapter and sort out its various parts. What happens in the first part?
Now look at the different incidents which are covered after Jesus returns to Galilee following his baptism and testing. Note the day on which the first two incidents occur. Two more incidents then follow, both beginning with a reference to time. When does the new day begin in Judaism? How does this apply here?
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 two transition verses, 1,14-15, with the following page, 1,14-20.
The call of the disciples, 1,16-20, is best taken as a page on its own, even though it is a short scene. So as noted we will add to this page the last two verses of the prologue: 1,14-15. In fact, 1,14-20 forms a Sunday Gospel which is a good reason for reading these verses together.
The third page can then be the two sabbath healings: 1,21-31.
The two scenes overnight (1,33-39) can then follow as the fourth 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 stage of Jesus's ministry, 1,14-45.
As it happens, in 2018 (as in 2015) these are the Sundays of Ordinary time before the beginning of Lent.
However, the Sunday readings as presented in the Lectionary do not follow my reading of the chapter. 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.
We must note that it is always good practice to read the Sunday readings in the Bible itself and so see how the Lectionary has been edited.
We are now ready for our reading of the Prologue, 1,1-15.