Day 261: ornate souls

Matthew 11:1-6 Christ pointed to his actions, in particular his miraculous healings, in answer to this question posed by the disciples of John the Baptist. All of these were signs of the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Through faith, we can see the Kingdom of God present through the miracles of Christ and his Church. (CCC 548-549, 2443)

Ch 11:7-15 Prophets: Prophets were those inspired by the Holy Spirit to call the Chosen People to fidelity to God’s Law and proclaim the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist is considered the last of the prophets, completing the cycle begun by Elijah. John was also the first to announce the arrival of the Kingdom of God, just as Elijah was the first to proclaim God’s promise of redemption. (CCC 719, 523)

Ch 11:16-19 Christ pointed out the cold-hearted stubbornness of his critics, who found fault with him and with John the Baptist no matter what they did. He employed the image of uncooperative children at play to indicate their refusal to accept the loving overtures of God through Jesus Christ. Many fail to understand his mission to call sinners to repentance, and instead accuse him of being possessed. (CCC 574)

Ch 11:20-24 Those who witness the works of Christ or hear the Gospel but reject the grace of God face dire consequences. Chorazin and Bethsaida seem to be towns where he had preached and performed miracles, but the people did not embrace his message of salvation; Sodom and Gomorrah were towns known for sin and iniquity destroyed in the Old Testament (cf. Gn 18:20-19:29). (CCC 678)

Ch 11:25-26 Infants: Christ refers primarily not to children, but to those who, with childlike faith, accept humbly Christ and his teachings-the poor in spirit, who rely on God’s providence to provide for their needs.

Yes Father: By saying “yes” to the Father, Christ affirmed his perfect submission to the Father’s will. (CCC 153, 544, 2603, 2701, 2785)

Ch 11:27 No one reveal him: The Father transcends all human knowledge and experience; thus, any human effort to conceive of him falls infinitely short of reality. The humble believer with a pure heart will see the face of God in Jesus Christ, who is the perfect image of the Father. (CCC 151, 240, 473, 2563, 2779)

Ch 11:28-30 Christ is especially compassionate toward those who suffer and carry a heavy heart. He invites them to prayer with the assurance of peace and serenity. “No one is without a family in this world: The Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden’” (St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 85). (CCC 459, 1658)

Ch 12:1-8 According to Jewish teaching, with few exceptions, no work whatsoever was to be done on the Sabbath. Christ always gave the greatest honor to the Sabbath and taught his followers its authentic meaning. He taught that the Sabbath rest is not violated when we serve God or neighbor, as in the example of the Temple priests who do their “work” on the Sabbath. (CCC 581-582, 2173)

Ch 12:6 Greater than the temple: The Temple was God’s dwelling among people; Christ described himself as the definitive Temple since he is the Son of God made flesh. (CCC 586, 590)

Ch 12:7 Christ quoted Hosea (cf. Mt 9:13) to affirm how our exterior acts, devotions, and pieties must be accompanied by love of God and mercy toward our neighbor. (CCC 2100)

Ch 12:15-21 Christ’s actions echoed those of the Suffering Servant of the prophet Isaiah (cf. Is 53) and thus identify him as the Messiah. (CCC 713)

Ch 12:22-32 Jesus Christ, through his redemptive life, death, and resurrection, conquered the Devil. The arrival of the Kingdom of God serves as a sign that the evil one’s reign has ended. (CCC 439, 550, 574, 590, 635)

Ch 12:31-32 Blasphemy against the Spirit: The Church understands this sin to be final impenitence, the resolute refusal to repent from sin and accept the forgiveness and mercy of God, which is a tacit rejection of the grace of salvation. It is the “sin committed by the person who claims to have a ‘right’ to persist in evil” (Dominum et Vivificantem, 46)

Either in this age or in the age to come: Because this statement implies that some sins can be forgiven after death, it provides evidence of a purification prior to the Final Judgment. The Church refers to this purification after death as Purgatory. (CCC 674, 1030-1031, 1054, 1864)

Ch 12:33-37 The tree is known by its fruit: Good comes from good, and evil from evil. A person’s true nature can be seen in our acts, and we will be judged accordingly. (CCC 1810-1811)

Ch 12:39-40 Christ’s Resurrection from the dead is the greatest sign of his victory over sin and death. (CCC 994)

Ch 12:38-42 Sign of the prophet Jonah...heart of the earth: Christ alluded to his own Resurrection from the dead.

Greater than Jonah...greater than Solomon: Along with his claim to be greater than the Temple (cf. Mt 12:6), Christ identified himself with God.

Judgment: At the end of time, Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Those who reject Christ will face eternal condemnation. Sin, left unchecked, leads to greater sin; if the “present generation” fails to heed the call to repentance, it will become more deeply steeped in evil, which will make repentance that much more difficult. (CC 590, 627, 635, 678-679, 994)

Ch 12:46-49 My mother and my brethren: Christ’s true family is his disciples, those who accept his teachings and put them into practice, When we are faithful to Christ’s message, our relationship with him is likened to that of a brother, sister, and mother. The “brothers” of Christ were other male relatives or fellow tribesmen rather than blood brothers. The Hebrew and Aramaic languages often used the same word to refer to brothers, sisters, cousins, and other relations that share the same ancestry. See commentary on Matthew 13:53-55. (CCC 764, 2233)

Ch 12:50 Whoever does the will of my Father…: Christ explained why Mary (and by extension all of his true disciples) are special to him, thus illuminating the meaning of verse 49. Mary perfectly fulfilled the will of God. (CCC 2826)

Ch 13:1-23 Christ often spoke in parables-stories that use images or metaphors to illustrate mysteries about the Kingdom of God. Through these parables, Christ instructed us to reflect on the nature of the Kingdom of God and how it grows within us. The Parable of the Sower describes how those who receive Christ wholeheartedly will grow in holiness and bear good fruit, whereas those who reject or do not fully accept the Word will not bear fruit. (CCC 546, 1724)

Ch 13:10-17 Christ always had an intimate relationship with his disciples and often elaborated on the “secrets of the kingdom of heaven” by explaining his parables to them privately. The Deposit of Faith has been handed down through the Apostles to the whole Church by Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. (CCC 84, 787, 546)

Ch 13:22 Attachment to material wealth and temporal concerns distract us from seeking Christ and turn our attention from doing God’s will. To be fruitful, we must respond to God in faith and heed his Word. (CCC 29, 1153)

Ch 13:23 Those who receive the Word of God will bear fruit according to their good dispositions. (CCC 1802-1803)

Ch 13:24-43 The weeds in this parable can be regarded as unrepentant evildoers who refuse to repent and ultimately are winnowed out for condemnation. However, the weeds can also be viewed as our imperfections. The Church is composed of sinners who are called to struggle against sinful tendencies so as to lead virtuous lives. They are on the path to salvation and holiness but have not yet arrived. In this parable, then, the weeds of sinfulness and the wheat of sanctity will coexist in each of us until the end of time. Our own fruitfulness in hearing and keeping the word of God is determined by our desire and eagerness for a close friendship with Christ and fidelity to his teachings. (CCC 827)

Ch 13:33 Leaven: Relatively small amounts of yeast, or leaven, when mixed with flour, make an entire loaf of bread rise. Christians are compared to leaven for the effect they have on the world. (CCC 897-903, 928-930)

Ch 13:44-52 The truth, which is the greatest treasure, can only be known through the Holy Spirit. These similes symbolize the search for truth and the joy in finding it. Those who respond to Christ’s invitation to the Kingdom of Heaven will find the truth, while those who do not do so will remain puzzled by the parables he preached. (CCC 546)

Ch 13:53-55 Carpenter’s son: This is the only reference in Matthew to Joseph’s profession.

His brethren: It is a matter of revealed truth that Mary, the Mother of God, remained a virgin all her life, and nothing in this verse contradicts that doctrine. See commentary on Matthew 12:46-49. Elsewhere, in fact, Matthew referred to James and Joseph as the sons of “the other Mary” (Mt 27:56, 61). (CCC 496-497, 500)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father, we give you praise. Thank you so much. Lord God, thank you for the teachings of Jesus, your Son. Lord, thank you. Thank you for your Spirit, that continues to inspire the readers and listeners to your Word. Thank you for the words of your Son captured and conveyed to us by your Holy Spirit and your friend, Matthew, our friend Matthew. We thank you and give you praise for this reprieve we have, this journey through the New Testament through the Gospel of Matthew. In the midst of all the prophets, Lord God, we thank you for finally bringing us to this fulfillment of everything the prophets had wanted, everything the prophets had pointed to, everything the Old Testament points to. Thank you for bringing us to this place in the New Testament, this Gospel where Jesus is the fullness of you revealed. Help us to understand Him more fully, and to love Him more deeply, and to follow Him with everything we have. We make this prayer in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”