This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday January 12th, 2014
St. Matthew the Apostle by Titian
“Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him: “Follow me.” And he got up ant followed him.” (Matthew 9:9).
Saint Matthew was a young man when Jesus spoke to him. Before this time e was known as “Levi”. One man having two names was not unusual among the Jews. He was the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14) and was Galilean. St. Matthew was a tax-gatherer for Herod Antipas and therefore despised by the Pharisees (an ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance to the Mosaic Law) who hated all ‘publicans’ (those who collected taxes and tolls in the ancient Roman Empire).
The Bible goes on to say that St. Matthew rose and not only followed Jesus but provided supper for him at his home along with other tax-gatherers. When the Pharisees saw they asked in protest, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:9-11). Jesus replied, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy and sacrifice.’ I did to come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12-13).
Today’s Gospel Reading
Matthew 3:13-17 NIV
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
What Does John Mean?
Jesus had a purpose for seeking out John and asking him to Baptize Him. Now John was immersing people in the waters of the Jordan, for the remission of their sins. And yet, we know that Christ had no sin. He was born sinless. So why did He ask for this cleansing? He had come to do the will of the Father and He knew that this act would assure His holy righteousness, which was necessary for Him to attain so that He, in turn, could bring Christians to perfection!
Yes, John knew which is why he hesitated, urging Christ to, instead, baptize him. But we know that what Christ did was exceedingly pleasing to His Father, whose spirit descended from heaven in the form of a dove, and lighting upon the Son, the words were heard telling exactly how pleased He was!
Our Second Reading
Acts 10:34-38 NIV
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Thanks Be To God!
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