Thank you, St. Matthew!
As we end our liturgical year this weekend with the Solemnity of the Jesus Christ the King, we thank Matthew for journeying with us. This past year, we were guided and challenged by the Gospel of Matthew that taught us many things about Jesus. The good saint presented many of Jesus’ sermons and teachings and made us think on how we can be better disciples of Christ. Matthew also presented to all of us God’s promise that is so evident in the Old Testament, “I am with you always.” In their journey in the desert, that promise was evident. Even in the Israelites’ unfaithfulness, God was always there to guide, protect, forgive, and love.
In Matthew’s infancy narrative, God’s promise is reiterated. The Angel Gabriel revealed the name of God’s Son, Emmanuel – meaning God is with us. And before the Risen Lord ascended to the Father, Jesus affirmed that same promise, “And know that I am with you always until the end of age.” I believe this is worth reflecting on, especially with what our world is experiencing. God is with us, always with us. We should never lose hope because Jesus said, “not a hair from your head will perish.”
Additionally, Matthew told us that God is a God of many chances and love. He does not give up on us. Remember Jesus’ words about reconciliation: “If the person refuses to listen to the Church, then treat the person as you would a gentile or a tax collector” (18:17). This means imitate how Jesus treated the gentiles and tax collectors. He did not give up on them. In parables, we are told that God is patient, humble, generous, kind and forgiving.
Now as we approach the end of the liturgical year, Matthew reminds us that we are all made in the divine image and likeness of God. The second commandment is like the first, “love your neighbor as yourself.” How could we not love the neighbor if what we see is God and a reflection of ourselves. Thus, as we end Matthew’s year this weekend, the evangelist sums up Jesus’ commandments beautifully, “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
As we conclude Matthew’s year, let us ask ourselves not only what we have learned from his gospel, but also how have we allowed Jesus’ message to challenge us and help us grow in our relationship with God and with one another.
This weekend we say, “Thank you, St. Matthew! We look forward to welcoming and hearing from you St. Mark!”
Fr. Ritche Bueza