This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday March 9th, 2014
The First Sunday Of Lent
Matthew, author of today’s Gospel
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 4:1-11 NIV
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
What Does Matthew Mean?
We are reading about the early times of Christ’s ministry. And what happens? Satan, chooses to confront the Son. And yet, despite using all of his powers, he can not cause the son to falter nor sin. And this does not end the challenges that come His way. His agony in the garden, his betrayal by His near and dear, his torture and the horrors of His death. None of these could break the will, faith or purpose for which He was born.
Further, there is much to compare the temptation of the Son and the same temptation that occurred in the beginning in the Garden. Amazingly, it was the success of the first temptation that lead man into sin and the failure of the second that promised victory over Satan and of the promise of Salvation. Christ’s triumph paved the way for God’s plan for the redeeming of humankind.
Our Second Reading
1 Corinthians 4:1-5 NIV
Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Thanks Be To God!
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