This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday February 16th, 2014
Levi (Matthew) was born and raised a Jew by his father Alphaeus at his home in Capernaum. He was trained to collect taxes in the form of personal dues or customs on goods. As such he gained knowledge of languages (particularly Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew), and calculation. Inasmuch as his work was in the service of the Roman government, and in view of the abuses and corruption to which the system led, tax collectors were the object of widespread hatred. His post was at Capernaum where he collected from those crossing the Sea of Galilee, as well as those traveling the Mediterranean-Damascus Road, which ran along the shore.
Jesus called Matthew from his tax booth and feasted at his house, indicating that Matthew was a man of some wealth. Matthew followed Jesus for the rest of his ministry and was with the disciples after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
According to Papias, Matthew made a collection of Jesus’ sayings in Hebrew. He traditionally is held to be the author of the first of the Gospels.
The Feast of St. Matthew is September 21st. The symbols of St. Matthew are the sword, the means of his martyrdom, and the money bag, for his work as a tax collector.
Today’s Gospel Reading
Matthew 5:17-37 NIV
The Fulfillment of the Law
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
What Does Matthew Mean?
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “If you are bringing your offering to the altar and remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your offering before the altar, go and be reconciled with them, and then return and present your offering.”
Everything we read in the chapters subsequent to Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” summarize the principles which in introduced. And part of these teachings is a caveat which is found in verse 17. “Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete.”
You see, the teachings contained in the “Sermon on the Mount” concern moral laws, as well as the relationships and behaviors He expects from all of His followers, whether a disciple or the shepherd on the hill. And this means living lives that embrace God’s commands and, most especially, love! But we can not lead this lives without some falls along the way. And that is why we must recognize our humanness and be willing to ask any who were offended by our actions, to be forgiven.
Our Second Reading
1 Corinthians 2:6-10 NIV
God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
Thanks Be To God!
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