This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday December 15th, 2013
(The Third Sunday Of Advent)
Painting is of St Matthew, and the artist el Greco.
Matthew the apostle and evangelist is mentioned in the 4 catalogues of the apostles in Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13, though his place is not constant in this list, varying between the 7th and the 8th places and thus exchanging positions with Thomas. The name occurring in the two forms Matthaios, and Maththaios, is a Greek reproduction of the Aramaic Mattathyah, i.e. “gift of Yahweh,” and equivalent to Theodore.
Before his call to the apostolic office, according to Matthew 9:9, his name was Levi. The identity of Matthew and Levi is practically beyond all doubt, as is evident from the predicate in Matthew 10:3; and from a comparison of Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27 with Matthew 9:9. Mark calls him “the son of Alpheus” (Mark 2:14), although this cannot have been the Alpheus who was the father of James the Less; for if this James and Matthew had been brothers this fact would doubtless have been mentioned, as is the case with Peter and Andrew, and also with the sons of Zebedee.
Whether Jesus, as He did in the case of several others of His disciples, gave him the additional name of Matthew is a matter of which we are not informed. As he was a customs officer (Matthew 10:3) in Capernaum, in the territory of Herod Antipas, Matthew was not exactly a Roman official, but was in the service of the tetrarch of Galilee, or possibly a subordinate officer, belonging to the class called portitores, serving under the publicani, or superior officials who farmed the Roman taxes. As such he must have had some education, and doubtless in addition to the native Aramaic must have been acquainted with the Greek His ready acceptance of the call of Jesus shows that he must have belonged to that group of publicans and sinners, who in Galilee and elsewhere looked longingly to Jesus (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34; 15:1). Just at what period of Christ’s ministry he was called does not appear with certainty, but evidently not at once, as on the day when he was called (Matthew 9:11,14,18; Mark 5:37), Peter, James and John are already trustworthy disciples of Jesus. Unlike the first six among the apostles, Matthew did not enter the group from among the pupils of John the Baptist.
excerpted from the following:
Today’s Gospel Reading
Matthew 11:2-11 NIV
“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
What Does Matthew Mean?
This is another series of verses that serve to prove to the world the true nature of the Son. And the one most in need of proof is one who should not….one who should believe without proof. I am referring to the one who baptized Christ.
And yet it is John who has been given the task of heralding his coming and of laying the foundation of Christ’s ministry. But imprisoned, John need that affirmation.
In addition, Christ used John as the example by which the faithful should choose to follow, by exhorting Him as one who heard and obeyed the will of God in spite of the risk and consequences.
Lastly, he reminds us of the glory that awaits and even tells us that those already gone have been are living s life in heaven greater than any life we can envision with our all too human minds.
Our Second Reading
James 5:7-10 NIV
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Thanks Be To God!
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