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    The Gospel of  Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew

    “The Council [of Vatican II] promoted a move to a homiletic mode of preaching which would, like the Fathers, expound the biblical text in a way which opens its inexhaustible riches to the faithful.”

    - Pope John Paul II, Ad limina visit, October 9, 1998 (Bishops of the U.S. Northwest   including the Bishop of Boise).

     Summer Bible Study

    June 26, 2000

    Second Session

    I.                    Review:

    A.      Chapters 1 &  2.

    II.                  St. Matthew:  more on his character. 

    A.      His conversion

    i.                     St. Jerome says that a “certain amiable brightness and air of majesty which shone in the countenance of our divine Redeemer, pierced his sould and strongly attracted him.”

    ii.                    The Venerable Bede says that “he who called him outwardly by his word, at the same time moved hiim inwardly by the invisible instinct of his grace.”

    iii.                  His conversion was without delay, it was courageous, it was constant, no looking back, and he was so happy, he put on a dinner party that very day.

    iv.                  We should earnesly pray that the same gracious, God our Savior, would touch our hearts with the powerful interior call, and that we may be perfectly converted to him.

    v.                    Yet, when we put wilful obstacles in the way, the seek of salvatgion is often choked. 

    III.               A.  Matthew 3

    i.                     “Repent”  means a new advance in salvatgion history, in that he requires a radical changei n man’s behavior towards God.  “Repent” means to change from their past life, and conversion, to fulfillment of the resolution, even though it is difficult.  Obedience is essential.  See, 1 John 2.

    ii.                    John the Baptist.  Essentially the last prophet of the Old Testament.  His appearance is exreme, but accords with O.T. prophets, particularly Elija (2 Kings 1:8; 2:8-13)/  He invites us to penance and mortification that play a significant role in the life of a Christian.  He did not claim baptism to cleanse the soul, but as a outward sign or need for repentance.  It was Christ’s institution of baptism, the sacrament that produces the grace it signifies.

    iii.                  Kingdom of God.  Essential God’s dominion over all creatures, which was broken by sin. This is a spiritual reality, not a nation-state, as thought of by Hebrews at the time of Christ.  The kindgom of God is the Church until the second coming of Christ., as it calls all people to salvation.

    IV.                A.  Matthew 3:7 etc.

    i.                     Tough words for the Pharisees, who kep th elaw of Moses rigorously and the oral traditions that had built around it.  They rejected the Hellenistic influence and homage to the Roman emperor, and many were truly pious, but many were extreme religiosity. 

    ii.                    “Sadducees, were a small religious group, that included influential people.  They rejected oral tradition.  They rejected some important truths, such as the resurrection of the dead.  Strongly opposed Christ.

    iii.                  Many of the First Century Hebrews believed their salvation was assured because they were descendants of Abraham according to the Flesh.  (9-10).

    iv.                   His baptism is an outward preparation, but the baptism of Christ shall be of fire.  (11-12)

    v.                    Judgment of the Messiah.  Verse 10 talks about the axe at the root of the tree.  Verse 12 talks about the chaff will burn with unquenchable fire.  These refer to the “particular judgment” and at the Last Judgment.  The term “chaff” refers to “bad deeds” but also to useless one, that lack service to God and men.  Our ommissions and opportunities to serve Him.  {J. Escrdiva}

    V.                  Matthew 3:13 etc.

    i.                     Jesus is being his work at about 30 eyars ofa ge, as it was a Jewish custom to carry out their function as teachers when they were 30 years.

    ii.                    St. John’s reluctance is understandable, but Christ obeyed the law, and obeyed those in authority over Him, and he recognized the authority of the prophet, St. John, by submitting to him. 

    iii.                  “To fulfill all righteousness”:  is ful fulfill all things laid down by God.  It is a major stage in salvation history.

    iv.                   Baptism.  Christ had the fulness of grace, as he was both human and divine.  One person with two nature, one human nature and one divine nature.  (The hypostatic union).    Here, the Holy Spirit is commencing His work through Christ.  His testimony gave solid proof of Christ and who He was. Our baptism makes us here in a way, as the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, the Father says “ This was not my son, but now after Baptism he has been made by son.”

    v.                    Where it says, “This is my beloved Son.” Shows that Jesus is not just one more of the adopted sons of God, or even the greatest creature among them all, but declares imminently that this is the “Son of God.”  The only-begotten one.  Here we see the fulfillment of divine prophecies, like Isaiah 42:1. 

    To Praise * to Bless * to Preach

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