Pope Francis guides readers through the Gospel of Matthew
This inspirational volume of reflections on the Gospel of Matthew echoes everything Pope Francis says and does. Readers have the option of reflecting on the entire Gospel from beginning to end or simply dipping into a passage and allowing oneself to be drawn closer to Our Lord through meditation, reflection and prayer.
“A master class in the Gospel of Matthew by a master teacher,” says Jesuit Father James Martin of The Gospel of Matthew: A Spiritual and Pastoral Reading. “Pope Francis brings a lifetime of learning and experience to help readers understand more fully the Jesus we encounter in Matthew’s Gospel, from the beginning of his life in a small-town Jewish family, through his ministry of preaching and healing in Judea and Galilee, through his passion and death in Jerusalem, to his resurrection as the savior of all humankind.”
Taken from various sources and occasions, these reflections will set the heart on fire as readers meet Jesus and discover that hidden treasure in the individual lines or words of the Gospel. Guided by Pope Francis, we are challenged to “listen once more to Jesus, with all the love and respect that the Master deserves. Let us allow his words to unsettle us, to challenge us and to demand a real change in the way we live” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 166).
Franciscan Father Daniel Horan notes in his foreword that “Pope Francis’ engaging and challenging reflections on the Gospel of Matthew are a guidebook for all who long to follow Christ more fully, understand Scripture more clearly, and love God and neighbor more completely.” As such, it is both a spiritual and pastoral reading of the Gospel.
Finally, Pope Francis’ reflections on the Gospel of Matthew are always practical and never just theoretical. The message is a constant reminder of Jesus’ invitation to begin again, to start anew, and to live the Gospel better by doing what we say we believe.
Readers of this volume, therefore, will recognize that the Bible is not a static document only to be proclaimed at Mass on Sundays, but rather it is alive and active through the Holy Spirit, who continues to speak to the Church in every generation and in every context. However, to hear the inspired word of God more fully, we must be open not only to the consoling and encouraging aspects of the Gospel, but also to the disturbing and challenging summons of the Spirit in our lives. For example, in the chapter on the Beatitudes, the Word shows us the way to reach true beatitude—the way that leads to heaven. Pope Francis notes in this book that “it is difficult to understand the path because it goes against the current, but the Lord tells us that those who go on this path are happy.”
As readers meditate and reflect on the words of Pope Francis in the Gospel of Matthew, may they be drawn closer to the life-giving invitation of intimacy with Jesus, the Word made flesh, and consider how being a Christian disciple requires our ongoing cooperation in the unfolding of God’s reign here and now.
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