In his motu proprio of 30 September 2019, Aperuit illis, Pope Francis has declared that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study, and dissemination of the word of God.
We are to ponder the deep relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of the believers and sacred Scripture:
- the Lord opens our minds so that we can understand the Scriptures;
- the Scriptures help us to comprehend the mission of Jesus and of his Church in the world;
Reading, meditating about, and living the Word of God is a life-long commitment of the believers:
A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers.Aperuit illis 8
The Sundays of the year 2023 (Liturgical Year A) will be offering us readings from the Gospel according to Matthew.
The gospel according to Matthew is best dated to A.D. 80-90. The traditional (2nd century) attribution considers that Matthew, a tax-collector among the Twelve wrote either the Gospel or a collection of the Lord’s sayings in Aramaic. The contents, on the other hand, suggest a Greek-speaker, who knew Aramaic or Hebrew or both and was not an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry. He drew on Mark and a collection of the sayings of the Lord, as well as other available traditions, oral or written. He was probably a Jewish Christian, living in the Antioch region. His gospel was addressed to a once strongly Jewish Christian church that had become increasingly Gentile in composition.
Matthew’s story of Jesus has held pride of place among the four Gospels since the 2nd century. Its fuller account of that story, from birth to resurrection, made it preferable to Mark’s tense narrative. The dominant Gospel in church lectionaries and most quoted by the Church Fathers, Matthew was also central (along with John) to doctrinal disputes over Christ and Trinity. Its emphasis on continuity with Israel’s past made it the natural bridge text between the OT and NT, a connection facilitated by its opening genealogy tracing Jesus’ ancestry back to Abraham.
This prominence in liturgy and theology, together with its interest in ecclesial matters, has earned Matthew’s Gospel the title “the Church’s Gospel”. The space it devotes to the teaching of Jesus is substantial, making it a rich resource for the life and praxis of the Christian community. Matthew has inspired some of the most radical of Jesus’ followers, including Francis of Assisi.