Dear Friends in Christ
The Gospel of St Matthew is read at Sunday Mass during these days preceding Lent; this is the first book of the New Testament. The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the community for which he writes, the crucial element marking them from their Jewish neighbours; while Mark beginswith baptism and transfiguration, Matthew goes back further still, showing Jesus as the Son of God from his birth, the fulfilment of Old Testament messianic prophecies. The title Son of David identifies Jesus as the healing and miracle-working Messiah of Israel (it is used exclusively in relation to miracles), sent to Israel alone. As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, a fact his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware. As Son of God he is God revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example. The front image - a detail from the Caravaggio canvas - displays how St Matthew is being inspired by an angel to write what he recalls of the life of Christ; in the full portrait one sees that he is poised with one foot on the ground and this other raised upon a stool it signifies how his Gospel is both inspired from above but rooted firmly on earth. As we listen to him recounting the teachings, miracles and saving events in Our Lord’s life, may we be drawn into a deeper desire for friendship with Christ and also be moved to read more Sacred Scripture.
Thanks to all those who helped to make the celebration of our Parish Feast Day last Saturday - and which marks the start of our Diocesan Centenary - such an enjoyable occasion! I remind you that from Monday - Friday the church has to remain closed during the work of redecoration; Mass is celebrated in the Parish Centre.
God bless you all!
Msgr Kevin Hale