Saints and Fathers

Understanding St. Matthew and his Gospel

by Steve Ray on September 21, 2016

Since it is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, let’s learn a lot about him.

Matthew: Understanding the Tax Collector and his Gospel

By Steve Ray

jesus-calls-matthew-2If looks could kill, he’d be dead. The Jews glared at Levi as he counted his coins. Tax collectors in Israel had great wealth and were considered renegades and traitors. Levi, a Galilean Jew who was also called Matthew, would soon be despised for more than confiscating money from his own people. He would be an outcast for following Jesus.

One day Matthew, son of Alphaeus (Mk 2:14), was sitting at his booth collecting taxes for Rome and a young rabbi named Jesus walked by and “saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he left everything, and rose and followed him” (Lk 5:27-29; cp. Mt 9:9). After leaving his tax booth, Matthew prepared a great feast for Jesus in his home and invited a great company of tax collectors and others to sit at table with Jesus.

When you open the New Testament, the first book you find is the Gospel of St. Matthew. How do we know Matthew wrote the first Gospel? We know because of Catholic tradition. Whereas the rest of the New Testament books were written in Greek, Matthew’s Gospel was originally written in the language of the Jews and only later translated into Greek. Papias (c. ad 60-130), a living witness to the teachings of the apostles wrote, “So then Matthew wrote the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language” (Eusebius, History of the Church, 3, 29).

St. Irenaeus (c. 130-200) wrote “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome” (Against Heresies 3, 1, 1). Matthew preached the Gospel orally long before committing the Saying of the Lord to writing sometime between AD 40—70. No date is certain and debate has raged with some wishing a later date. Tradition informs that Matthew preached to the Jews in Palestine for over a decade and later went to foreign nations including Ethiopia, Macedonia, Syria, Persia, Parthia and Medea.

Guido_Reni_-_St_Matthew_and_the_Angel_-_WGA19308Matthew was a Jew writing to Jews. By some calculations, he quotes directly or alludes to the Old Testament a whopping sixty-five times! Readers today must “think” and read like his original audience—Palestinian Jews—to get the full impact of his message. Mark preaches Jesus to the Romans as a servant with no genealogy; Luke portrays Jesus as humanity to the Greeks with a genealogy going back to Adam; John tells the world Jesus is divine and as God he has no genealogy.

Matthew, however, adeptly presents Jesus to his people as Messiah and King with royal pedigree through the kings to David and back to Abraham the patriarch of Israel. The phrases Kingdom of God or heaven are used almost forty times. Using the interpretive techniques of the contemporary teachers of the Law, Matthew skillfully handles the Tanakh arguing that Jesus is the Coming One promised by Moses and the Prophets.

Jesus was a master storyteller, teaching the kingdom of heaven through parables. Matthew weaves these grandly simple stories and miracles into his Gospel to pull back the curtain on the supernatural revealing Jesus’ true identity. Jesus walks through the pages adorned in the purple and gold of royalty. Chapters 1-4 narrate King Jesus’ ancestry, virgin birth, commission, and the inception of his public ministry. Chapter 5 opens with Jesus as the New Moses. With imagery alluding to Mount Sinai, we read, “he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them” (Mt 6:1-2).

Over fourteen hundred years earlier God had spoken through Moses: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deut 18:18). As Jesus took his seat on “the mountain”, the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) established him as the Prophet who would fulfill and re-define the Law of Moses (Mt 17-22), revealing the interior nature of the Kingdom of God as opposed to the exterior legalism of the Pharisees.

To read the rest of my article on St. Matthew, click here.

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Great day in Rome — Banner Day! Join our Mass at St. Peter’s (Fr. Thad’s homily). Follow the Life of St. Paul. Enjoy!

Our 4th Day in Rome…

Steve’s Talk on Typology and the Church of St. John Lateran…

Steve’s “Life of St. Paul” Part 1…

Life of St. Paul Part 2

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earth-mother-teresa-quote1_1_orig“The long-awaited canonization of Mother Teresa has sparked a renewed interest in her astounding life. Her name has become synonymous with selfless love and service to the poor, sick, disabled and dying. “I’m no Mother Teresa” was once a frequent refrain as we backed off from tasks that seemed too demanding or humiliating, and her fast-tracked road to sainthood seemed a no-brainer.

Since last Friday would have been her 106th birthday, this is as good a moment as any to re-introduce Mother Teresa, the diminutive nun who changed the world.

In preparation for the tours I am leading over her canonization weekend [with Steve and Janet Ray], I have been reading extensively about Mother Teresa. My study was motivated by my own discomfort: How could I—who spent my entire life studying beauty in warm, well-fed, wonderful Rome—speak about the saint of suffering?

Many Aleteia readers will know Mother Teresa’s writings well, or even have met the great saint personally, and this piece is probably not for you. Nor is this an exhaustive list of literature on the saint. I am writing for those who, like me, had little real knowledge of Mother Teresa, and although daunted, would like to take this opportunity to foray into her life, words and work.

A word of warning, she is dangerously compelling—her “little path” is so persuasive that you will find yourself applying her words to your own life, whether you like it or not….”

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/08/27/6-things-to-read-to-get-to-know-mother-teresa/#sthash.ZPbcMSPW.dpuf

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First Day of Mother Teresa Canonization Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi – Entering Holy Door and more…

September 2, 2016

Join us on the first day of our Mother Teresa Canonization Rome and Assisi pilgrimage. Glad to have you join us! Teresa Tomeo is fun to have along, Fr. Thaddeus from the Marian Helpers is a great chaplain (today’s homily), Jim Coffey from Papal Foundation is among us along with a meeting tonight with EWTN’s […]

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Cut off His Head! John the Baptist

August 30, 2016

 Beheading of John the Baptist August 29 Why was John so special? He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New. He was the first to proclaim the news that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God. He was 100% from the lineage of Aaron the High Priest. […]

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Steve discussing Assumption-Queenship of Mary, St. Bartholomew and Recent trip to Poland

August 25, 2016

Steve on Relevant Radio discussing St. Bartholomew with John Harper

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My Free St. Paul Timeline

August 13, 2016

Since many people have no clue about the real life and timeline of St. Paul and his epistles, I am posting my St. Paul Timeline so everyone can get the big picture. Please feel free to print and use for personal use. When I was teaching my series on Acts of the Apostles (see the audio CDs […]

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St. James, Slayer of Muslims (Moors)

August 10, 2016

Sure sounds politically incorrect, eh? But in Spain – especially at Santiago de Compostela – a city dedicated to St. James – that is a popular title of St. James, one of Our Lord’s twelve apostles. Spain has had a rough history with Muslims invading their land. They fought back and eventually pushed the Muslim […]

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Another Chart of the Apostles after the New Testament

August 4, 2016

I posted a chart a few weeks ago but this one surfaces and since everyone seemed very interested in the previous post, I thought you’d appreciate this one as well. Thanks to the ChurchPop.com website site. For another chart, click here.

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Can Relics and Sacramentals Relay the Power of God?

June 28, 2016

Some might claim that Catholic teaching on relics and Sacramentals is unbiblical. Really? Check out these biblical passages: “So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face CLOTHS or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came […]

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Today is St. Justin Martyr’s Feast Day – Free Apostolic Fathers Timeline

June 1, 2016

Feast Day of St. Justin Martyr, June 1   Download a Free copy of the Apostolic Fathers Timeline This amazing Timeline drives home the point of how close these men were to Jesus and the Apostles. It demonstrates how Catholic the first Christians really were!  The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes […]

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Did John the Baptist Doubt that Jesus was the Messiah?

April 23, 2016

I get asked this question a lot and thought others would find my answer helpful. Not that I claim to have discovered this myself but reading and gleaning has brought me to this conclusion. In Luke 7:19-28, John the Baptist was in prison and sent two of his disciples to Galilee to ask Jesus a […]

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“Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?” – Resources about Communion of the Saints

March 10, 2016

I compiled a list of Catechism, Scripture and quotes from the early Church Fathers and even archaeology to assist in understanding the Communion of Saints. You can download the source material here. Sample: Who should carry the most weight—Protestant pastors protesting Catholic theology today or pastors from the early Church who have the words of […]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey – In Preparation for “John the Baptist & Our Lord Baptism”

March 5, 2016

A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. I raised hives of bees as a boy and once I was stung 35 times in one day. Wild honey is not collected from wild bees without burning pain […]

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Discovering the Place of Paul’s Shipwreck on Island of Malta

February 16, 2016

I am doing a show on EWTN’s Son Rise Morning Show on Tuesday about the shipwreck of St. Paul. So I am reposting this blog from our trip to Malta late last year. One of my favorite things is to discover the events and places of the Bible and to share them with others. The […]

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