Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist — USCCB Daily Readings

Feast of Saint Matthew

Matthew 9:9-13

barronFriends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew, and our Gospel tells of his conversion. Matthew’s laconic account details what the transition from spiritual death to spiritual life is like. First, we notice the look of Jesus. If there is one theme clearly stated in the New Testament it is that of the primacy of grace.

Why? We don’t know. We just know that we will not lift ourselves to spiritual wholeness. A gaze has to come upon us from the outside. Not so much finding God as allowing ourselves to be found.

Jesus says to him, “Follow me.” There is nothing simpler or more basic in the Christian life than this. This is what we disciples do: we follow, we walk after him, we apprentice to him. “He got up and followed him.” The symbolism here is marvelous. Getting up, rising up—anastasis, the same word used to designate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Conversion (turning around) is also elevation, rising up.

To come to Christ is to come to a higher, richer, broader form of life. Now life is not simply the pleasures and goods of the body; now life is lived in and through God.

Reading 1 Eph 4:1-7, 11-13 Brothers and sisters:I, a prisoner for the Lord,urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,with all humility and gentleness, with patience,bearing with one another through love,striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace:one Body and one Spirit,as you were also…

via Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist — USCCB Daily Readings

>Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

>Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

John 3:13-17

Friends, today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. How strange this feast would have sounded to someone in the ancient world! The triumph of the cross! It would have been analogous to someone speaking today of the triumph of the electric chair or the exaltation of the noose.

The cross terrified people in Greco-Roman times, and that was the point. The cross was state-sponsored terrorism, a form of capital punishment reserved for those who had in the most egregious ways undermined the authority of the Roman state.

So why in the heck are we celebrating the cross’s triumph? There is only one possible explanation, and that is the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. All the attempts to soft-pedal and explain away the Resurrection are ruled out by this feast. If Jesus was a victim of that terrible cross tout court, then we should all go home.

Once they had taken in the experience of the Resurrection, the first Christians turned with rapt attention to the cross, convinced that in it they would find something decisive. Somehow, in the strange providence of God, that cross was ingredient in the very process by which God would save the world.