Sirach 3:2-6,12-14; Psalms 128:1-5; Colossians 3:12-17; Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
The Gospel of Matthew is the first Gospel in the New Testament order. It contains the most complete record of Jesus’ teachings. In the Early Church, it was used as a manual of instruction for new Christians. And it opens and closes with a military operation.
It begins with the Nativity Story, partly told in today’s Gospel Lesson. King Herod sends a detachment of soldiers to Bethlehem to kill the children. And at the end of the Gospel, a detachment of soldiers is assigned to kill the prisoner, Jesus.
Yet, within this framework, the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes peace — over-and-over-again the peace of God.
The Nativity Story as told in Matthew’s Gospel is well-known, of course. The Wise Men came from the East to worship the Christ Child. They had seen in a star a sign that a King was to be born, and they followed the star in the spirit of great anticipation and great joy. And they went into the place…