Saints and Fathers

Since it is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, let’s learn a lot about him.

Matthew: Understanding the Tax Collector and his Gospel

By Steve Ray

jesus-calls-matthew-2If looks could kill, he’d be dead. The Jews glared at Levi as he counted his coins. Tax collectors in Israel had great wealth and were considered renegades and traitors. Levi, a Galilean Jew who was also called Matthew, would soon be despised for more than confiscating money from his own people. He would be an outcast for following Jesus.

One day Matthew, son of Alphaeus (Mk 2:14), was sitting at his booth collecting taxes for Rome and a young rabbi named Jesus walked by and “saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he left everything, and rose and followed him” (Lk 5:27-29; cp. Mt 9:9). After leaving his tax booth, Matthew prepared a great feast for Jesus in his home and invited a great company of tax collectors and others to sit at table with Jesus.

When you open the New Testament, the first book you find is the Gospel of St. Matthew. How do we know Matthew wrote the first Gospel? We know because of Catholic tradition. Whereas the rest of the New Testament books were written in Greek, Matthew’s Gospel was originally written in the language of the Jews and only later translated into Greek. Papias (c. ad 60-130), a living witness to the teachings of the apostles wrote, “So then Matthew wrote the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language” (Eusebius, History of the Church, 3, 29).

1200px-The_Calling_of_Saint_Matthew-Caravaggo_(1599-1600)(PICTURE: Caravaggio’s “The Call of St. Matthew.”  Notice Jesus’s hand pointing – it’s an image from Michelangelo’s Creation in the Sistine Chapel. The light does not come from the window but from Jesus, like saying, “Let there be light.” The love of money is the root of all evil, says St. Paul. What will Matthew love more–Jesus or the gold?)

St. Irenaeus (c. 130-200) wrote “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome” (Against Heresies 3, 1, 1). Matthew preached the Gospel orally long before committing the Saying of the Lord to writing sometime between AD 40—70. No date is certain and debate has raged with some wishing a later date. Tradition informs that Matthew preached to the Jews in Palestine for over a decade and later went to foreign nations including Ethiopia, Macedonia, Syria, Persia, Parthia and Medea.

Matthew was a Jew writing to Jews. By some calculations, he quotes directly or alludes to the Old Testament a whopping sixty-five times! Readers today must “think” and read like his original audience—Palestinian Jews—to get the full impact of his message. Mark preaches Jesus to the Romans as a servant with no genealogy; Luke portrays Jesus as humanity to the Greeks with a genealogy going back to Adam; John tells the world Jesus is divine and as God he has no genealogy.

Matthew, however, adeptly presents Jesus to his people as Messiah and King with royal pedigree through the kings to David and back to Abraham the patriarch of Israel. The phrases Kingdom of God or heaven are used almost forty times. Using the interpretive techniques of the contemporary teachers of the Law, Matthew skillfully handles the Tanakh arguing that Jesus is the Coming One promised by Moses and the Prophets.

Guido_Reni_-_St_Matthew_and_the_Angel_-_WGA19308Jesus was a master storyteller, teaching the kingdom of heaven through parables. Matthew weaves these grandly simple stories and miracles into his Gospel to pull back the curtain on the supernatural revealing Jesus’ true identity. Jesus walks through the pages adorned in the purple and gold of royalty. Chapters 1-4 narrate King Jesus’ ancestry, virgin birth, commission, and the inception of his public ministry. Chapter 5 opens with Jesus as the New Moses. With imagery alluding to Mount Sinai, we read, “he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them” (Mt 6:1-2).

Over fourteen hundred years earlier God had spoken through Moses: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deut 18:18). As Jesus took his seat on “the mountain”, the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) established him as the Prophet who would fulfill and re-define the Law of Moses (Mt 17-22), revealing the interior nature of the Kingdom of God as opposed to the exterior legalism of the Pharisees.

To read the rest of my article on St. Matthew, click here.

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Fun Show about Nicodemus with Al Kresta

by Steve Ray on August 31, 2017

IMG_5020Join Al Kresta and myself today at 4:20 PM Eastern time for a fun and energetic discussion of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. They were judges on the Supreme Court of Israel and yet they took huge risks to follow Jesus.

We discuss them today on their Feast Day.

Listen live at www.avemariaradio.net  or listen on EWTN radio, Ave Maria radio or Sirius satellite.

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I love St. Paul and love to write about him and his epistles. I also enjoyed traveling through six countries filming his life story and theology.

St. Paul Dictating his Epistle to the Romans to Tertius

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is often seen as impossible to understand except by theologians — and most skip right over this masterpiece.

With hopes that you will take the time to give Romans a second look, I have written a brief summary of the circumstances and a synopsis of his brilliant letter.

It is fun and easy to read and it is given to all with the hope you enjoy it — and St. Paul.

Sweat was beading up on his bald head and thick eyebrows. His pointed beard wagged as he paced the stone floor speaking rapidly. His dark eyes flashed, his hands gesticulated in rhythm with his rapid utterance. His quick mind was obviously way ahead of the words that rushed from his mouth.

Tertius struggled to keep up, his quill scratching rapidly across the parchment. After hours of dictation and careful refinement this letter was rolled up and given into the hands of Phoebe who boarded a wooden merchant vessel heading for the hub of the Empire. The words were Greek, written from the Greek city of Corinth, dictated by a Jew of the Hebrew religion and sent to Latin Rome.

For the rest of the story, click here.

To see our DVD “Paul, Contending for the Faith

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Luke’s Gospel: Greek Physician, Historian & Friend of Mary

June 18, 2017

Her face shone as she related the stories—the words were vibrant, and though older now, her memory was excellent. He sat enraptured as she brought the past into living color. He had traveled a long way to see her and he sat motionless, with furled brow, taking careful notes on his parchment. He spent hours […]

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St. Mark: Very Important; Very Little Known

June 17, 2017

To listen to our show about St. Mark on relevant radio: We’re discussing feast of St. Mark at :30 sec mark w/SteveRay@JerusalemJones relevantradio.streamguys.us/MA%20Archive/M… or download hour 1 @relevantradio app St. Mark: Very Important Biblical Guy, Yet Relatively Unknown Let me introduce you to him… “His voice boomed over the crowds in Rome as it had all around […]

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Burgos Spain to Loyola (St.Ignatius) to Lourdes France

May 22, 2017

Wonderful day, great folks, conversion and vocation stories and the highlight – St. Ignatius and Loyola. Delightful and entertaining Homily by Fr. Andrew Apostoli at Loyola basilica.

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All Day in Fatima! Fr. Apostoli’s Talk and more

May 18, 2017

Join us today for a full day ALL Fatima seeing everything and having a deeply spiritual experience. We prayed the Rosary up to the place where the angel gave the children holy Communion. Fr. Andrew Apostoli gave a very profound to talk which you can watch Here are the highlights of our Fatima day!

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Arrival in Fatima!

May 17, 2017

Our group all arrived safely and had a great arrival in Fatima with Mass celebrated by Fr Mark Mary of EWTN and the homily by Fr. Andrew Apostoli. Everyone is excited and ready… …after a good night’s sleep we do EVERYTHING Fatima tomorrow!

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Fatima and the Modern World – St. JP II

May 13, 2017

Fatima and the Whole Modern World In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima to commemorate the first anniversary of the attempt on his life and the sixty-fifth anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition there. He delivered the following homily. St. John Paul II on Our Lady’s message at […]

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Visionaries from Fatima to be Canonized this Month – two days before our group arrives

May 8, 2017

What a blessing! The two small children Francisco and Jacinta Marto who witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima will be canonized this month — two days before our sold out group arrives. We are very happy the Pope arrives before us since to be there simultaneously makes it very difficult due to crowds and […]

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Consecration to Mary on 100th Anniversary of Fatima – Bishop James Conley

May 2, 2017

May 13, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children. We will be going to Fatima twice this year with pilgrimage groups and will arrive a few days after May 13th (due to crowds we avoided the actual day). Bishop James Conley shares his experience […]

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Joseph the Sissy or Joseph the Worker – Feast Day of the Worker

May 1, 2017

Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker! There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or […]

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Was Abraham Save by Faith Alone?

March 28, 2017

Today I am flying to Franciscan University of Steubenville to be the guest for Franciscan University Presents, the one-hour TV show produced by the University for EWTN. Mike Hernon hosts the program which is a round-table discussion with a guest and panelists from their Theology Department, Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Regis Martin.  Our topic will be Abraham, […]

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Was Joseph the Father of Jesus? Video of Going to Work with Jesus and Joseph near Nazareth!

March 17, 2017

Since March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, I thought I would share a few things on this great saint!  First, a discussion of whether it is correct to call St. Joseph the father of Jesus. Second, I recently ran from Nazareth to the worksite of these two guys and I invite you by […]

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Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?

March 1, 2017

Are saints who have physically died “dead saints” or are they alive with God? A friend named Leonard Alt got tired of being hammered by anti-Catholic Fundamentalists on this issue so he decided to write this article. I thought you might enjoy it too, so here it goes… Leonard writes: I wrote this note after […]

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St. Polycarp’s name does not mean “many fish”

February 23, 2017

Today is the Feast Day of the Great Bishop and Saint Polycarp on February 23. When we converted to the Catholic Church my son Jesse chose St. Polycarp as his patron saint because of his great heroism. We filmed the whole life of St. Polycarp on location. I feel like I know him. The name Polycarp […]

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