Scripture notes – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 27th August 2017

The Gospel has reached a turning point, for Jesus has finished his Galilean ministry. He now asks his disciples what they have learned about who he is. Jesus as the Christ, the ‘Messiah’, is something we so take for granted, it may take a little effort to understand the faith it required of the twelve assorted Galilean men. The other readings offer some subtle light on Matthew. Continue reading Scripture notes – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 27th August 2017

Scripture notes – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 20th August 2017

The theme in today’s readings is God’s reaching out to all peoples. It starts with the recognition of some of the Hebrew prophets that people more than Israelites are in God’s concern and care. Next St Paul writes of his own mission to the ‘Gentiles’ and then a challenging story of Jesus. Continue reading Scripture notes – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 20th August 2017

Scripture notes – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 13th August 2017

We are back to Ordinary Time after last week’s feast, though the 18th liturgy is not picked up.

Most of the time in ordinary life, we have to take in faith the existence of God and simply have to guess what it would mean to ‘experience’ Him. At special moments, the veil of human limitation is lifted and someone receives a glimpse of what ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard’ of the depth of divine reality. We have two of these in the readings today. Continue reading Scripture notes – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 13th August 2017

Scripture notes – The Transfiguration of the Lord – Year A – 6th August 2017

This year the annual commemoration of the ‘Transfiguration’ falls on a Sunday and takes the place of the Ordinary Time reading. The moment when Jesus was ‘changed in form’ before the inner group of three disciples and seen as more than an ordinary human was a mysterious event that left them frightened or awestruck. It may be a challenge to imagine how this was, as the Gospel writers had to struggle to find words to describe their perception. Oddly though it may be easier for us who accustomed to the special effects of film and TV. Continue reading Scripture notes – The Transfiguration of the Lord – Year A – 6th August 2017

Scripture notes – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 30th July 2017

A theme running under the four readings today is ‘Wisdom’. These days in the world around us, I rarely hear wisdom praised perhaps because our fast-changing times highlight new information and being on top of ‘the latest’. Once wisdom was expected of those with a long life experience but now age is not prized but a problem – ‘ageism’. In the Old Testament, however, there was a long tradition of Wisdom as a gift – even an aspect – of God which enriches and gives meaning to life. Continue reading Scripture notes – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 30th July 2017

Scripture notes – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 23rd July 2017

Today’s readings vary in theme, opening with a ‘Wisdom’ reflection addressed to God and praising his compassion. In a short paragraph from St Paul we have a vision of how the Holy Spirit works in our prayer, while the long Gospel reading collects a number of Jesus’ parables on the Kingdom of God. Continue reading Scripture notes – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 23rd July 2017

Scripture notes – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 16th July 2017

There are on-going debates among philosophers over some basic questions many people face in simpler ways: If God is loving and all-powerful, how can there be so much evil in the world? If God controls everything, what responsibility do humans have for their own behaviour? J. P. Meier says, ‘No attempt is ever made in the bible to reconcile systematically the two poles of the grace/free will paradox.’ Instead the Bible is full of stories and poetry that give us glimpses of how God interacts with humans. We have examples in today’s readings. Continue reading Scripture notes – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 16th July 2017

A brief Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew

In Year A of the liturgical season, the gospel readings at mass highlight Matthew, the first book in the New Testament as we find it now. Since the liturgy can present only short selections, an overview of the book itself and what is found in current scholarship about its background, the author and the meaning, can be helpful for a fuller understanding. Some of this will be taken up in the weekly notes I make available, but here is an overview. Continue reading A brief Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew