The Year Of Matthew
The Gospel of St Matthew
It is easy to find introductions to this Gospel in bookshops as well as via Internet search engines. We offer only the briefest notes based largely on the commentary by David Stanley, S. J. (1963). We should remember there is much disagreement about many details. What follows is offered to help readers begin this long but fascinating gospel account.
The Function of the Written Gospel
The Gospels represent a specific type of sacred literature. We use the word Gospel: to signify four N.T. books. The N.T. writers used the word to mean preaching. And what was preached? The scholar would say, the kerygma, the preaching of the Good News. The early Church called this "a Gospel", a term borrowed from Isaiah 52: 7 — 10 where it meant the proclamation of the Lord's final, saving gesture which was to usher in a new age of salvation. This prophetic announcement was believed to make the Kingdom of God an earthly reality, and hence was concerned with God's action in history.
Matthew the Apostle
Matthew was, in Hebrew, called Mattai, Mattenai, or Mattanaya (among other variations), meaning gift of God. He was also called Levi. He was very likely some relative of James the Less (Mk 3: 18), whose mother Mary was present on Calvary (Mt 27: 56) and inspected the empty tomb (Mt 28: 1). He was therefore, from a circle which had known the family of Jesus, in which stories of his infancy would quite naturally have been preserved.
Matthew was a customs official at Capharnaum (or Capernaum), probably in the employ of Herod Antipas (Herod of the Passion narrative). He was not a Roman tax-gatherer. He was required to speak and write in both Aramaic and Greek, and to speak Latin with at least basic fluency.
Matthew the Writer
We take a passage from David Stanley
Themes of Matthew's Gospel
Some of the key themes in this account of the Gospel include the following.
We are about to commence a wonderful journey through the Gospel according to St Matthew. Interwoven throughout the sequence of lessons, based on the Christian Church year, will be constant reminders of: -
We will be radically challenged by our encounter with the Lord himself. Let's not be surprised by that but allow ourselves to listen to and behold anew all that he teaches (see final verse).
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