This Advent, we are presented with the Gospel according to Matthew.
The Gospel was written for converts from Judaism to Christianity in the early church, and when we read it, we should be aware of the following three things:
1. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord Jesus is seen as the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of the people of Israel, the long-suffering Jewish people who have waited for the Messiah to come.
Notice that throughout this Gospel, many parallels are made with the Old Testament. For instance, Jesus is described as the new Moses, the Lawgiver who is himself the law.
2. This is a Gospel in which St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus is featured. This just man, the guardian of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the one through whom the story of the Lord’s Nativity is told.
Although Joseph is silent, like the new Joseph the “master dreamer” from the Old Testament book of Genesis, he
is very much a central figure.
3. This is a Gospel in which St. Peter is declared the first pope. In Matthew 16:15, we hear that the fisherman from Galilee is proclaimed by the Lord Jesus to be Peter, the rock on whom the Lord will build his church.
We are blessed to have such a profound Gospel. Let’s listen attentively to its readings and try to grow as a family
of faith through them.
Being Men and Women for Others
The Society of Jesus, more commonly known as the Jesuits, was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century. It has been evangelizing, teaching and preaching since then. Millions of people around the world have been brought to the knowledge of the faith in Jesus through the missionary work of the Jesuits, no one more so than St. Francis Xavier.
Millions more have been educated by the Jesuits in high schools, colleges and universities. In New York City, we have Brooklyn Jesuit Prep, Regis H.S., Fordham Prep, Xavier H.S., Loyola H.S. and Fordham University. Many of our Brooklyn diocesan priests have been educated in their theology studies at Rome’s Gregorian University, the first Jesuit university in the world.
Today’s most famous Jesuit is Pope Francis. Although we are aware of some of the more controversial stands of some Jesuits in the church, we want to remind the world of the good works of the faithful sons of St. Ignatius Loyola. The Jesuits’ job in education is to help the Lord to create men and women for others.
Each Christian, by our baptisms, is commissioned to be standard-bearers of Christ — to become men and women for others. No matter where we study or have studied, let’s not forget that the true purpose of a Catholic education is to help students to become
men and women for others.