Jeremiah 20:10-13; Ps 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35; Roman 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33.
We have now finished celebrating many of the major elements of our faith. We now move back to ordinary time. Sunday readings are in a three-year cycle so we don’t repeat the same readings every year. The church wanted to open up the Bible to many other readings and themes so we know more about our faith and its background.
We want to remember that the entire New Testament was written after the Holy Spirit set the earliest community on fire with boldness on Pentecost. They were then sent into the whole world to introduce them to the true God and his plan for a new world of blessings. So it is helpful each day to ask the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us. He opens our minds so we understand more of our faith. We learn each day Gospel stories about Jesus. Each day the church gives us a little “snapshot” of Jesus’ life. Praise God.
Birds-eye view of year A
In year A we read from St. Matthew, the converted tax collector then apostle, how he saw Jesus and his work. Matthew divides his gospel into five major sections like the first five books of the Bible. He first lays out the Jewish background of the Messiah’s birth and flight into Egypt.
This is a “birds-eye view” of the longest gospel. The first section deals with the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in chapters 3 and 4. The Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5-7 follows it. The second section deals with 10 miracle stories in 8-9 and the mission tales in chapter 10.
The third section deals with the Jewish leadership opposition to Jesus in 11-12 with the Parables about the Kingdom of God as opposed to the world in 13. The fourth section deals with Jesus’ travels, miracles and the Transfiguration in chapters 14-17, concluding with the church teachings in 18.
The Great Commission
The fifth section deals with Jesus’ teaching in Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple in chapters 19-22, concluding with another Sermon but on the Mount of Olives in chapters 23-25. St. Matthew concludes Christ’s life with stories of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Christ’s death and resurrection. At the Ascension, Jesus gives the “great commission” in chapter 28:19-21, saying,
Go therefore and makes disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. (Revised Standard Version)
Jesus forms followers quietly
This week Jesus is traveling and teaching about God’s new kingdom. He is forming his followers quietly. Later they will be empowered to proclaim his Good News to the world. Jesus says not to be afraid. He speaks about opposition and persecution from Jewish authority and the many gods of the pagan world. His followers are to be confident of God’s protections. As God takes care of the birds etc., we are more precious than all of creation.
In our own lives today, Jesus is telling us to proclaim the good news of his kingdom. We are not to be afraid. If we are martyred by the pagan world around us, we have our eternal reward in heaven. Let us fortify ourselves with prayer and scripture, live the new life of Jesus. We may be persecuted but not abandoned. We can remain surrounded by the resurrected light of Christ. Let it shine!
Continue praying the Chaplets of Divine Mercy and the rosary for the conversion of the dark side forces around us.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)