Today’s Gospel reading is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which is found in Matthew’s Gospel. The form of the Beatitudes found here is not unique to Jesus. Beatitudes are found in the Old Testament, in the psalms, and in wisdom literature, for example. They are a way to teach about who will find favor with God.
We quickly note in this reading that the people whom Jesus calls “blessed” and “happy” are not people we think of as blessed or happy . . . the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted. This Gospel is one of reversals. Jesus’ blueprint for happiness reflects little of what the world might call happiness.READ MORE
In a family, communication is essential for unity. But when someone joins a family, whether it be an infant or an in-law, it can be bewildering; so much family communication is based on a common understanding that the newcomer lacks. Fortunately, in the family of God, we are not left to bumble about unaided.READ MORE
This Sunday we break from our reading of Matthew’s Gospel (the primary Gospel for our current liturgical cycle, Cycle A) to read from John’s Gospel. We heard Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism last Sunday, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today, we hear John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus as found in John’s Gospel. John’s Gospel differs from the other Gospels because John does not describe Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. Instead, John the Baptist announces that he knows that Jesus is the Son of God.
In today’s reading, John the Baptist sees Jesus approaching and cries out, giving witness about who Jesus is. In John’s testimony he says that he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus. By this sign, John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the one who is to come after him.READ MORE
The visit of the Magi occurs directly before the story of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. Matthew’s Gospel tells a version of Jesus’ birth that is different than the one in Luke. Of the actual birth of Jesus, Matthew tells us little more than, “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod . . . ” The story of the census is found only in Luke’s Gospel, but we hear about the visit of the Magi only in Matthew’s Gospel.
We know little about the Magi. They come from the East and journey to Bethlehem, following an astrological sign, so we believe them to be astrologers. We assume that there were three Magi based upon the naming of their three gifts. The Gospel does not say how many Magi paid homage to Jesus. In Matthew’s Gospel, they represent the Gentiles’ search for a savior. Because the Magi represent the entire world, they also represent our search for Jesus.READ MORE
Discipleship means Prayer and reflection, Obedience to God and God's will, and Fidelity to a community of faith.
Today’s reading is a continuation from the Gospel proclaimed at the Christmas Mass at midnight. In it the shepherds act upon the message they receive from the angel and go to find Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem. In their visit to the manger, the shepherds find things just as the angel had said. The shepherds’ visit, therefore, is a moment of fulfillment, manifestation, and the beginning of the salvation we receive through Christ.
In the context of today’s Solemnity, this reading also helps us focus on Mary as the Mother of God. The reading tells us at least three things about Mary as a mother. First, Mary is described as a reflective person, keeping the reports of the shepherds in her heart. Second, we are reminded of how obedient Mary was to God when she named the baby Jesus as the angel Gabriel had directed. Third, this reading shows Mary and Joseph faithfully observing their Jewish tradition by having Jesus circumcised.READ MORE