Well, we’ve completed another spin around the sun, this time with the gospel of Matthew as our guide. Next week, on the First Sunday of Advent, we’ll begin all over again, with the gospel of Mark telling its own unique story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Before we leave Cycle A, let’s remember some of the people we met in Matthew’s gospel, for each of them has their own mark on our lives.
It’s only Matthew, of course, who tells us so much about St. Joseph! He’s the one who knows that Joseph was such a good, holy, compassionate, merciful man that, when he learned that his betrothed was already with Child, but before the Angel Gabriel visited him to tell him how that came to be, he decided to divorce her quietly rather than subject her to execution, which would have been his right, according to Leviticus 20: 1-12.
St. Peter gets more attention in Matthew, and it’s here that we learn that it will be upon the faith of Peter that Christ will build his Church (16:18-19). Most of the biblical characters we meet in Matthew we have already met in Mark, the earliest of the four gospels. But it’s the portrait of Jesus as Teacher, as Preacher, as the Compassionate, Merciful One that is so beautiful, and so unique to Matthew.
Jesus becomes exasperated with the Pharisees so often in this gospel that, finally, he says to them, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” (9:13). He’s quoting the Old Testament prophet Hosea here (6:6), which must really have rankled those experts in all things Jewish.
What is your favorite story of MERCY from Matthew’s gospel?
Kathy McGovern ©2023 www.thestoryandyou.com