Gospel of Matthew’s Old Testament typology Pt. 1

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Edward Sri, associate professor of Scripture and Theology at the Augustine Institute, thoroughly examines in chapter ten of his book Dawn of the Messiah: The Coming of Christ in Scripture the Gospel of Matthew and how Matthew connects his audience to the scripture of the Old Testament with the coming Messiah. The Gospel of Matthew, as Sri highlights, examines the connections between the old Jewish scriptures and the story of Jesus’ birth in his gospel “with the precision of a Swiss watch.”[1] Matthew being highly educated, as a tax collector, would have been familiar with writing skills to illustrate a story as Sri examines for “an audience with a strong Jewish background.”[2]

Many would assume that Matthew is writing for a primarily Greek audience according to how he frames his narrative of Jesus fulfilling the messianic prophecy with  “clear, explicit connections to Old Testament passages.”[3] However, as Sri examines this is simply the most glaring method that Matthew employs while writing his gospel.[4]
Exploring the clear and explicit connections to the Old Testament; Sri highlights a passage from the Book of Isaiah and how it relates to prophecy being fulfilled in the Gospel of Matthew. In the Book of Isaiah 7:14, the Lord spoke to Ahaz saying, “the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”[5] Sri connects this to a prophecy being fulfilled in the first chapter of Matthew.[6] As Sri explains, Matthew makes the connection to Isaiah by writing, “ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.”[7]

The text may indicate that the constructed prose is for a Greek audience as the typology between the Old Testament and New Testament would appear to have been self-evident to a Jewish audience. However, Sri explains that Matthew is “connecting the dots” for his audience as “one does not need to know a lot about the Old Testament to realize that prophecy is coming to fulfillment.”[8] However, Matthew is attempting to reaffirm Christ’s case for being the Messiah to a Jewish audience who may doubt his status as the “anointed one.”

Another example of Matthew connecting the dots to another prophecy is the one given in Micah 5:1-4.[9] Chapter five of Micah begins, “But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah , too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. Therefore, the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, and the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel. He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord, his God; and they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth he shall be peace.”[10] Again, Matthew connects the Old Testament prophecy with the birth of Christ by having the chief priest confirm with Herod the prophecy stating, “For thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”[11]

[1] Edward Sri, Dawn of the Messiah: The Coming of Christ in Scripture (Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005), 138.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Isa. 7:14 NAB

[6] Sri, 139.

[7] Matt. 1:22-23 NAB

[8] Sri, 139.

[9] Ibid, 140.

[10] Mic. 5:1-4 NAB

[11] Matt 2:5-6 NAB

 

Seek to Imitate Christ During Christmas

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chalcedon451, a fantastic writer and pilgrim for Christ, wrote on All Along the Watchtower, his thoughts on ways each Christian can prepare for Festival of Incarnation during this Advent Season. chalcedon451 speaks of the spiritual side of preparing for Christ’s birth on his post, “Toward Advent: a reflection.” however, as I commented on the page and now wish to share on my page, I believe we, Christians, must also take a more active role in our lives to help spread the Word from our earthly vessels to the world this Advent and Christmas seasons.

I’ve discussed with a friend and my wife that there are several things we can do outwardly to open the lids of our earthly vessels to the world so that Word will spread forth. ( A topic I discuss from St. Augustine’s advent Sermo in a previous post.)

We, in our families, can stress the Festival of Incarnation through our actions. We can celebrate, with our children and other family members, the feast of St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, by having family members set out shoes or stockings. By filling shoes with chocolate gold coins or filling stockings with oranges (another St. Nicholas tradition) one can certainly use the opportunity as an invitation to open our lids to discuss St. Nicholas and the importance of God’s gospel.

Furthermore, we can transform the consumer-ness of Christmas back towards Christ by emulating the gospel in our homes. If one gives only three presents to any family member, they can be expensive or bundled into three boxes, one can teach about the Gospel of Matthew and Christ receiving three gifts. When Christians’ children get older, perhaps parents can ask to have gifts donated in the family name to the less fortunate. Parents can also request religious gifts when asked what they want for Christmas. For example, my mother always asks what to get my wife and me for Christmas, so we asked for a Nativity set. Also, on Christmas, think about working a breadline at a local parish.

These acts appear small, but if one person acts, perhaps another one will follow this example. Two more viewing these people’s awakened actions may feel inspired to do the same. In the northern hemisphere, the birth of Christ, the Festival of Incarnation, happens during the darkness period of the year. It represents is a renewal of the world. John the Baptist explains this in Jn 3:30 RSV “30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Each one of us can certainly do our part as Christians to assist in that renewal and out of the darkness spread light into the world.

Speak Lord: Call us by love

Fantastic thoughts on one of this week’s mass readings, enjoy!

Living Eucharist

St Paul arrives in ThessalonikaThe second reading at Mass tomorrow – the first Sunday of Advent – comes from the earliest of the writings of New Testament, Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.

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St. Augustine’s Advent Sermo: Responding to the World’s Hecklers

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The first post that will be part of a series of posts during this Advent season taking a look at St. Augustine Sermo LI

My Dear Charity in Christ, (How Augustine addressed the faithful)

The Advent season is upon us and as St. Augustine noted, “Christ has aroused our seasonal expectations, he’ll soon fulfill them.” In St. Augustine’s sermon, we are reminded of the Word of God, where it is located, and the mission that God has given each of us to share the Word with the world.

St. Augustine reminds us of the teachings of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 RSV:

 6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.

St. Augustine, of course, makes it understood to the faithful that they are the earthly vessels that St. Paul speaks about to them. He explains to them that as the Charity in Christ, the faithful must allow the jars of clay to be open so that the Word shall pour forth from the vessels and into the world.

How can we Christians make sure that lids are open, and the world shall pour from us?

St. Augustine provides the answer in his sermon—Stay Awake!

St. Augustine states that the “Last thing I want to do is speak to deaf hearts and dull souls.” How can the Charity in Christ prevent being both deaf and dull? We, the faithful, must be fully active in our faith! When going to mass, or other church services, we must be alert to the Liturgy and the Homily (Sermon) from the priest. Catholics believe that during the celebration of Mass, Christ’s real presence occurs in the Eucharist through Transubstantiation—we must act like it! The Eucharist is always present in the tabernacle when entering church—let your minds be alert—would you only half genuflect, or even not genuflect, to Christ, King of the Universe, the Incarnation who brought us salvation if he manifested as such? During this Advent season be mindful of such actions, because they are not worthless, as such actions will be imitated by others.

The Charity in Christ once again prepares for the Advent season. The modern world is in chaos; every soul who have “given themselves to the games of the flesh” calls for the faithful to do the same or be labeled a heretic to the world. The preparation for the festival of Incarnation must be done by prayer for those souls who wish to call us heretics. St. Augustine asks the Charity in Christ to pray to God “without distraction of any kind.”

However, prayer must not lead to missing walls of belief and the instruction of Christ. The Charity in Christ must still have their principles and convictions, and be prepared for those convictions to be challenged by the world as St. Augustine explains:

“Any questions from the Heretical Hecklers?”

“If I have found a lie, just one lie, a misstatement, a misnomer,” responds Heckle. “I’d have to disbelieve the whole thing right?”

“Give me an example.”

“Well,” responded Jeckle, “I just have to number the generations.” (referring to the differences in Matthew and Luke)

How are those within the Charity in Christ to respond?

St. Augustine acknowledges the difficulty of Hecklers and how they treat the faithful, “They begin by asking a question sweetly, then lead us down the flowering path of the Garden of Evil.”

St. Augustine warns the faithful to be patient and to learn the truth of Christ. By doing this, the Hecklers of the world will lead us closer to Christ. The faithful must understand that God has a purpose for such people. St. Augustine explains, “We Christians can’t live with the Heretical Hecklers… we also can’t live without them.”

The explanation by St. Augustine reminds me of Christ’s parable of the weeds among the wheat.

Mt. 13: 24-30 RSV:

24 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[a] of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants[b] said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

As the faithful, the Charity in Christ, makes its way through this Advent season in preparation for the birth of Christ. The Charity in Christ must reflect on the differences between pulling the weeds, which also destroys the faithful—the Wheat of God and acknowledging Christ before humanity of the post-modern world.

Lk 12: 8-10 RSV:

8 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

If the faithful continues to acknowledge Christ fully before humanity, as the City of Man passes away, we will be acknowledged by the Incarnation of God, Christ, as citizens of the City of God.

Give Thanks to God; your faith has saved you.

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The Gospel reading for Thanksgiving Day.

Brothers and Sisters, I pray that you have blessed holiday. I believe the message of the gospel is fairly self-evident; however, it reminds me of a personal experience between my wife and I the other night over dinner. I was sitting in the office studying of some nature when my wife told me that she had fixed supper for the both of us. I came out to see leftover soup and two corn muffins, we prayed, and I began to eat the meal. My wife looked up and said, “What do you think about supper?” I was thinking about it for split second, and she immediately replied, “You don’t like it.” I quickly responded, “I am very thankful for it.” The response caused her to have an instant smile, and she told me that it truly warmed her heart.

My wife loves me, and God loves all of his children. It’s important for us to remember to offer up our prayers of thanksgiving to God for the grace he has given to us by the sacrifice of his only son, Christ the Lord.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke

Luke 17: 11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

Advent Hymn: Origins of Veni Redemptor Gentium

Veni Redemptor Gentium is one of the earliest known Western Church hymns dating to the 4th century A.D. The hymn is considered to be in the genre of Ambrosian Chant, predating Gregorian Chant, as it is believed to be written by St. Ambrose of Milan.

The slideshow does not have the presenter to fill in gaps, so a little St. Ambrose backstory:

In 303 A.D., The Roman court was moved from Rome to Milan. The Emperor Valentinian I had called St. Ambrose to serve as the governor of Milan, which due to the location of the court gave St. Ambrose an immense amount of power. The Arian bishop had died in Milan causing a conflict in the streets between Arians and Catholics. St. Ambrose attempting to calm the riots went to the Cathedral to prevent a city riot. The passion of St. Ambrose moved both sides as both began chanting “Ambrose for bishop!”¹

St. Ambrose, after being ordained Bishop of Milan on December 7th, 374 A.D. began teaching the faithful in his church a new style of singing called antiphonal. While teaching melodies created by himself, St. Ambrose inspired by both Psalms and his own creativity composed hymns that had not been common in the Western Church. St. Ambrose’s chant “is the earliest surviving written music of Western Civilization.”²


 

¹Marcellino D’Ambrosio, When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers (Cincinnati: Franciscan Media. 2014), 211.

²Ibid, 216.

 

Lift Up Your Worries

I think; therefore, I believe.

I think; therefore, I am anxious.

O ye of so little faith, can worry about life grant peace?

Let us turn into Children, so that, our faith may grant us the rewards of the father. That we shall know the Father through the Son as our anxieties attempt to drive us from the truth.

Let us rest in him where truth is known and reject humanity’s desire for temporal judgments and open our hearts to the truth, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Pray to God your needs and lift up your anxieties for he will hear your prayers. If he does not fulfill your prayer now that it was not for your advantage.

Our pain may be for spiritual sickness, should God withhold the pain of the knife to remove said sickness? Remember, Heavenly Father knows all that we need.

Persevere in Christ

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Brothers and Sisters,

Let us not forget how the City of Man treated Christ and his message. Remember Stephen’s fate when he challenged the City of Man–But atlas, Saul would still be redeemed! These post-modernist who seek to destroy the Church, like Saul, may yet be renewed in the Incarnation of Goodness.

I am a sinner; I write these words to renew my soul in the Incarnate Lord, Christ–King of the Universe. Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Father, became the Son of Man for the purpose of redeeming our souls from the burning fires of those who seek to lift the City of Man to replace the City of God.

The citizens of the City of Man may silence the citizens of the City of God but rest easy Brothers and Sisters. The Word will break free! The City of Man may hand us in for imprisonment but our being having been saved by the Incarnation of Christ is more than our flesh.

The testing of our faith shall produce our perseverant nature. If our perseverance is found wanting and weak, pray to Christ. Let the faithful pray to God for he will give generously.

James 2:10: 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

Have we Christians become outsiders?

The answer is that we have always been outsiders! The Church always has had its enemies; those enemies seek to subvert from within, as to do so from outside the walls of the faithful would only create more zeal for Christ.

Each one of us must determine those who do not walk in the counsels of the wicked.

The City of Man is the City of the Wicked; its natural course is not justice but to frame its desires as just. The City of Man is the natural enemy of the City of God as it seeks to create the temporal as Utopian. Pray for the faithful to reject such promises.

Laus Deo,

-Philip Augustine