Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 128:1-5; Colossians 3:12-21; 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.
It begins with the Nativity Story, partly told in today’s Gospel Lesson. You’ll remember that King Herod sends a detachment of soldiers to Bethlehem to kill the children. And at the end of the Gospel, a squad 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 where the Child was born,…