Written by: Denise Serafini on Thursday, March 30, 2017
Although the annual Father McGivney dinner was being held in Cheshire that evening, members of the Knights of Columbus still came to support the Relics of the Passion event. As a matter of fact, Monsignor Ginty, also a knight, joined them in sacrificing their opportunity to celebrate the founder of the Knights of Columbus with their brother knights. God bless them.
St. Matthew, the apostle and saint for whom this parish is named, was a tax collector. His occupation would have put Matthew in a position where he was despised by his fellow Jews. The Pharisees and Scribes equated tax collectors with sinners. Jesus was never deterred from fraternizing with sinners as was noted in the biblical quote in Mark 2:17 which reads, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The gospels according to Matthew were written after the death of Christ in Aramaic to convince the people that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. In his gospels, Matthew chronicles the life of Jesus, his experience as an apostle of Christ, and the message of salvation for all people who come to God through Jesus.
As I meditate on the Passion of Christ in preparation for the presentations we do, I can more or less see what I think is the summation of the messaging in all the gospels. The Passion has all the elements that the evangelists mention in the sermons and parables, in His life and in the lives of all those connected with Jesus. The gospels are replete with messages of life, discipleship, virtue, faith, healing, danger, evil, sin, forgiveness, repentance, death, resurrection, salvation and more. Those same messages are all encapsulated in the Passion of Christ.
The relationship Jesus had with Matthew highlights a truly special message for us all. Although St. Matthew was chosen from among the ranks of those perceived to be the greatest sinners, Jesus loved him and called him to be a part of His following. We are called to do the same. Regardless of our sinfulness, Jesus has a special place for each of us as a member of His close circle of friends. He wants to help us understand the full scope of His love, forgiveness and mercy so that we might enjoy the fruits of salvation. Obviously Jesus echoes that same message again and again throughout the gospels and repeats it once again in the Passion with His words, “Father Forgive them for they know not what they do” and speaking specifically Dismas when He says, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. His message is conveyed to us in so many ways and He is continually reaching out to us to not only hear it but accept it in our hearts and reflect that knowing for our fellow man. That’s what Matthew and the other great evangelists did in writing the gospels and it’s what we are called to do, maybe not in writing like they did, but by example.