Sunday, August 31st, 2014
A Prayer For Today
Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
Loving Christ, we confess we have not followed Your ways. We have insisted our own way is the right way over others. We have placed tradition as more important than relationship. We have clung to our ways because it is too hard to change. We have failed to see the ones who have been hurt, or have dismissed them. Forgive us for our selfish ways, and call us into the ways of love, in which traditions deepen our relationships, and we work together to build up Your church, open to the ways that relationships with others encourage us to change and grow. Help us to be Your body, all different members but joined together.
In Your name we pray.
Author of Today’s Reading
St Matthew the Apostle
St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collector’s place at Capernaum. Before his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the “Levi” of Mark and Luke.
His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.
St. Matthew’s Gospel was written to fill a sorely felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the messianic Kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual rather than in a carnal way: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of St. John the Baptist, “Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the “Hebrew tongue” mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later. Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.
Our 1st Reading
Ezekiel 43:1-7 CEV
You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Today’s Gospel Reading
Matthew 16: 21-28 NIV
Jesus Predicts His Death
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Hymn For Today
Breathe On Me Breath of God
Words: Edwin Hatch, (1835-1889)
Music: Trentham, Robert Jackson (1840-1914)
Breathe on me, breath of God: fill me with life anew, that as you love, so I may love and do what you would do.
Breathe on me, breath of God, until my heart is pure, until my will is one with yours to do and to endure.
Breathe on me, breath of God; fulfil my heart’s desire, until this broken part of me glows with your heavenly fire.
Breathe on me, breath of God; so shall I never die, but live with you the perfect life of your eternity.
Breathe on me breath of God
Thanks Be To God!
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