Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 – Matthew 24
As we approach the last few chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, I want to summarize this account of Christ’s ministry from the beginning to his prophecy of the second coming in our reading today.
At the beginning of this book, we witness the prophecy fulfilled of the Messiah’s first coming, his birth. We meet Jesus, and know him by his name “Emmanuel” which means “God is with us.” Throughout his powerful ministry, this promise has been proven through miraculous healings, the transforming power of friendship with his followers, and the advocacy for outcasts in the community. In his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, we hear Jesus’ intentions to not abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He speaks of the ways the poor will be blessed and elevated through adversity and calamity. He says to them, “Come to me, all you that are weary, and I will give you rest.”
The ministry of Jesus flips the paradigm of power on its head; the Kingdom of God reimagines what a kingdom looks like.
The rest that is offered, the blessings that are poured out onto God’s people, are bad news for the rich. That brings us to our parable yesterday of the great feast. The pious rulers, the rich, and the elevated don’t show up to this feast. They believe they have something greater or have better places to be. They’re offended and disgusted with who else might show up to the party. We see this attitude in Matthew 23 where Jesus criticizes the religious leaders. He tells the people, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So, practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:2-3).
In our reading for today, Jesus is leaving this interaction with the Pharisees and tells of the time when he will come again. While we wait for the second coming, the completion of God’s transforming work, Jesus preaches that we must be ready to continue to do what we have seen throughout this Gospel. As God has worked through the birth, life, and resurrection of Jesus, God’s spirit continues to work through us as the Church. As followers of Jesus, we have a duty to continue being a witness to this Good News for the poor and inviting everyone to this great feast.
Questions for reflection:
- How is the second coming of Jesus related to the Parable of the Great Feast from yesterday’s reading?
- How do you see the Holy Spirit transforming you, or how have you seen this transformation in the past?
- How might God be calling you to advocate for people?