Matching speech with action in Matthew 21

As we continue to read through Matthew’s gospel in ordinary time in the lectionary, for Trinity 16 in Year A we vault over the entry into Jerusalem and land in the middle of Jesus’ controversies with the leaders in the city in Matt 21.23–32. Some of the events here, in particular the ‘triumphal’ entry itself, … Continue Reading

The heart of forgiveness in Matt 18

The lectionary gospel reading for Trinity 14 in Year A is Matt 18.21–35. It continues Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ teaching about life in the ekklesia—not the ‘church’ as we would understand it now, but within the community of God, gathered around obedience to Jesus himself.  We might, when reading this in the context of the … Continue Reading

Jesus (and Peter) walking on the water in Matthew 14

The Sunday lectionary reading for the Ninth Sunday of Trinity in Year A is Matt 14.22–33, Matthew’s instinctive account of Jesus’ walking across the water and Peter’s response to it. I am finding this recent, sustained immersion in Matthew’s narrative very interesting. We have often noted how Matthew’s accounts are more compressed than the other … Continue Reading

Palm Sunday in Matthew 21

It is always a relief when we celebrate Palm Sunday from Matthew (as we do in this Year A in the lectionary) or Mark’s account (next year). Luke 19.36 in his account talks only about the garments, and does not mention palm branches, so in those years we have to call it Garment Sunday (which … Continue Reading

The testing of Jesus in Matthew 4

As we enter the season of Lent on Sunday, the lectionary for the First Sunday in Lent, Year A, is of course Matt 4.1–11. It is worth noting that the lectionary and seasonal arrangement of the 40 days (46 calendar days minus the feast days of Sundays that exempt us from lenten discipline) corresponding to … Continue Reading

The ‘transfiguration’ of Jesus in Matthew 17

The lectionary gospel reading on Sunday, the last Sunday before Lent in Year A, is Matt 17.1–9, Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. There some important things to note in relation to this passage as we think about preaching on it or hearing it preached. All three Synoptic accounts place this immediately after Peter’s confession of … Continue Reading

The distinctive people of God in Matthew 5

This Sunday’s lectionary reading, the Third Sunday before Lent in Year A, is Matt 5.13–20, a short section of the so-called Sermon on the Mount following on from the Beatitudes. In some ways, this collection of sayings is well known, with some of it passing into common parlance (‘salt of the earth’)—and yet the important … Continue Reading