Vatican II, Cycle A: Matt 9:9-13 Call of Matthew
Vatican II, Cycle B: Mark 3:20-35 How Can Satan Drive Out Satan and Jesus’ True Family
Vatican II, Cycle C: Luke 7:11-17 Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain
Traditional Latin Mass: Luke 5:1-11 Call of the First Apostles
Byzantine: Matt 8:5-13: Matthew’s Account of the Healing of the Centurion’s Servant
Interestingly, last week, we discussed Luke’s account of the Centurion’s Servant. This week, if you attended a Byzantine Liturgy (a Byzantine church that followed the Western Calendar that is), you would have encountered Matthew’s account.
The reading at most Roman Catholic Churches this week was the Call of Matthew. I like that reading for several reasons. First, it’s kind of like the Woman Caught in Adultery (where, to have caught the woman “in the very act,” the Pharisees were confessing to voyeurism). In this case, Jesus is having dinner at Matthew’s house, and the Pharisees point to Him and complain to His disciples that He dines with tax collectors and sinners.
Now, if you were having dinner at someone’s house, sitting in his dining room, and someone else were making comments about it, within your earshot, what would that person have to be doing?
That’s right! The Pharisees were dining at Matthew’s house, too!
But remember that Satan is the Accuser. Satan knows fully well what he’s guilty of–he just wants to prove that no one else is any better, and that’s what the Pharisees try to do to Jesus.
That brings us to Cycle B. How can Satan drive out Satan? Jesus often speaks conditional statements that, taken at face value, mean one thing, but, when we think about the *conditions*, mean something quite different. For example, when Jesus tells Peter “put away your sword; those who live by the sword die by the sword,” we have to remember Matthew 11: “the kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by storm.” Jesus dies by the sword. Peter is going to die by the sword. The question is not whether one is *supposed* to “live by the sword”, but whether Peter is *willing* to.
Now, let’s look at this passage. Jesus’ relatives come to find him, thinking he’s insane (just because His mother’s tagging along doesn’t mean she agrees with the rest; after all, the Gospel of John consistently lists Jesus’ mother travelling with the disciples). Jesus says the famous words, “Anyone who does the will of the Father is my brother and my sister and my mother.” Of course, we know that His Mother is the Handmaid of the Lord, who does the Father’s will perfectly.
Similarly, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”: we *know* Hell cannot stand. We also know that Hell is divided.
Cycle C’s reading involves raising a young man from the dead, echoing an incident from the life of Elijah that is recalled in that year’s Old Testament reading.
The TLM reading is the Call of Peter, Andrew and Zebedee’s sons, as told by Luke. Funny anecdote: after I read it this evening, Allie asked, “What does it mean ‘catchers of men’?” Mary explained that it meant teaching people about Jesus. “That’s what I thought,” she said. I said, “It doesn’t mean playing tag.” “OK, that’s what I thought was weird,” Allie said.
On a more serious note, this account involves Peter making a profound statement of faith and humility, akin to that of the Centurion: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
So, whichever form of the Roman Rite you attended this week, you heard about Apostles getting called.
And that brings us back to the Centurion in the Byzantine calendar: both a miraculous healing and a profound statement of faith.
So, again, the themes of the week? People giving up everything to follow Jesus; Jesus saying that, if you want to follow Him, it’s gotta be complete (only with the promise that you’ll be His brother); Satan’s doomed; Jesus has power over death.