Monthly Archives: August 2011

Reflecting on the Gospel for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 18:18:

In ancient Judaism, the terms to bind and loose were associated with the authority to teach and to grant or withhold forgiveness of sin. Significantly for this passage, the terms also denoted juridical authority to include or exclude persons from the community of faith. While this authority was given to Peter uniquely in 16:19, it is now bestowed on the disciples as a whole. In this context, it refers to their authority to make decisions regarding the status of unrepentant sinners in the Christian community.

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.
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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 16:21-23:

It is significant that Jesus describes Peter as an obstacle. The Greek term refers to a “stumbling stone” that causes one to trip and fall. A contrast between this image and the rock in verse 18 is no doubt intended. The difference is one of grace verses nature. When Peter speaks what the Father has revealed to him, as he did in verse 16, he is the sturdy foundation stone that keeps the forces of darkness at bay. But when the same Peter speaks from the standpoint of weak human nature apart from divine assistance, he is a stone that causes others to stumble.

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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The Love of Husband and Wife

Recently I learned that two young married couples I know, each of which has a toddler at home, have separated and are headed toward divorce. In one marriage, the husband says he no longer feels anything for his wife; in the other, the wife says she no longer loves her husband.  While the circumstances differ in each case, in both a root cause of the breakup is a superficial understanding of love that reflects the confusion of our culture.

Some time ago another couple asked me to speak at their wedding.  As I prayed I felt inspired to compose the following dialogue about “True Love.”  I believe it supplies an antidote from the New Testament to some of the inadequate understandings of love common even among practicing Christians today.

True Love

One day two disciples were walking down a dusty road with their Teacher, and the conversation turned toward marriage, and how the only enduring foundation for marriage is true love.

“Teacher,” one of them asked, “please tell us, What is true love?” Continue reading

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 16:13-20:

The exchange between Jesus and Peter at Caesarea Philippi is the climax of the first half of Matthew’s gospel. From Peter we hear the definitive declaration that Jesus is the Messiah of Jewish expectation and the Son of the living God. In return, Jesus issues his own declaration that Peter is to be the foundation of a new and messianic temple known as the Church. The constellation of images and themes that appear in this dialogue are closely linked to the Davidic covenant and its attendant traditions.

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, reflecting on Matthew 15:21-28:

Much can be learned by reflecting on the words and actions of the Canaanite woman. Among other things, she is a model for effective prayer. First, notice that she comes to the Savior with faith. She never questions whether Jesus is able to deliver her daughter from the demon. She simply trusts in the divine authority of Jesus, three times calling him “Lord.” Second, she shows perseverance in asking for Jesus’ help. Neither his initial silence nor his attempt to decline the request lessened her tenacity in pursuing his assistance. She persisted until she attained what she sought.

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 14:32-33:

It is important to realize how the disciples’ confession of Jesus as “Son of God” arises out of this story. They recognize that Jesus has done what Yahweh was said to do in the Jewish Scriptures. God is the one who treads upon the waves of the sea (Job 9:8; Hab 3:15) and who stills the storms that make the waters rough (Pss 65:8; 89:10; 107:28–30). Likewise, it is the Lord who reaches out and saves the faithful from drowning in seas of mortal danger (Pss 18:17; 144:7). Matthew does not cite these passages, but for those steeped in the Scriptures of Israel, the import of Jesus’ actions is evident. He is acting as only God can act, doing what only God can do.

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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