This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday March 16th, 2014
The Second 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 17:1-9 NIV
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
What Does Matthew Mean?
The TRANSFIGURATION holds significance on two levels….the first being the meaning it held for Christ. You see, it acted as an affirmation regarding what His purpose was to be and was intended to strengthen Him in preparation for the difficult days that lay ahead. You see, we today see Christ as the divine figure He became, but it was His very human self that walked the course. And it would be His human form that would need to gain the strength to deal with the temptations that awaited Him. And that was His Father’s purpose for this visitation.
The second purpose was the one given to James, Peter, John (and the others) who shared His journey. When Peter sought to honor Moses, Elijah and Christ, the Father makes it abundantly clear that only Christ was divine and worthy of such homage….a 360 degree turn from that which was previously held as sacrosanct by the Jews, especially regarding the significance of Moses. It would take nothing less than a display of such might to make them see and understand the true nature of the one they followed.
Our Second Reading
2 Timothy 1:8-10 NIV
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Thanks Be To God!
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