The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.10.01
A Word for the New Church
There is a piece of pure politics at work here in the gospel.
The writers of Matthew’s gospel are making a direct appeal to the remnants of John’s followers.
This is a recurring theme in Matthew, who would have us believe that John, and Jesus were cousins.
The writers of Matthew are doing everything they can to bring John’s followers into the way, the new church, both by convincing them that Jesus was the heir to John’s ministry, and by convincing the new church to accept the outcasts, to bring them in and not treat them as outsiders.
The words in the Gospel appear to be directed to the chief priests and elders, of the temple, and the synagogue, but at the time Matthew’s gospel is being written they temple had been destroyed and the Jews had been scattered.
In reality these words are being addressed to the leaders of the new church, telling them to make room for the outsider, for the tax collector and the prostitute, and the Children of Israel who were fleeing Judea, looking for safety and comfort in a new home
John and Jesus
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time