Matthew constructed five major discourses or sermons attributed to Jesus. By composing five discourses he compares Jesus to Moses, since the first five books of our Bible are attributed to Moses. Moses was the first great prophet of God, that is, the revealer of God’s words. Jesus is the final and ultimate prophet of God. As Moses’ revelation is revealed in five books (discourses), so Jesus’ revelation is revealed in five discourses (books).
When the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica falls on a Sunday, it replaces the Ordinary Sunday. A bit of history: St. John Lateran ranks first among the great basilicas of Rome. People may be unaware that St. Peter’s Basilica is not the Pope’s cathedral as Bishop of Rome. St. John Lateran has that distinction. The site of this basilica was at one time occupied by the palace of a Roman family, the Laterani.
Since 1970, the feast which commemorates all the faithful departed takes precedence over the Ordinary Sunday. The choice of November 2 for this commemoration dates back to the late tenth century and the influence of French monasteries. Spanish Dominicans in the fifteenth century orginated the custom of every priest offering three Masses on All Souls Day. Pope Benedict XIV in 1748 approved this custom, after which it spread rapidly in Europe and Latin America.
During World War I Benedict XV, moved by casualties of World War I, granted to all priests the privilege of celebrating three Masses on this day. Since the liturgical revisions following Vatican II, this day is about resurrection of the dead rather than about death.
In a series of confrontations with religious authorities in Jerusalem, Jesus first astounded a delegation of Pharisees and partisans of the Herod family who were rulers of parts of Palestine through appointment by the Roman emperor and senate. That confrontation was last Sunday’s gospel reading and treated Matthew’s catechetical instruction about paying taxes. The Sadducees are next. They were the upper crust of the temple priesthood plus wealthy and powerful laymen. Their question was about the resurrection of the dead, which they denied. Jesus’ answer puts them to shame, and they move on. The episode with the Sadducees is not part of Cycle A, this year’s readings.
Checking the news and keeping our eyes open to see what’s happening not only in the world but also to see those around us, both those we know and those we may see only once.
We’ve watched videos of people being carried out of their homes in Liberia by people covered from head to toe in protective clothing to keep them from contracting Ebola, a disease that is desiccating parts of that nation among several others in West Africa. Now, we’re watching as a second heath care worker in Dallas has contracted the disease. People are beginning to realize something like this can happen here.