Who does He think He is? – Matthew 13: 54- 58 (Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest)

Matthew’s community was no stranger to rejection. The times that they lived in were marred by bitter hostility between the Jews and the followers of Christ who still clung on to their Jewish roots. The rejection by Matthew’s community was sealed with the pronouncement of the ‘birtkat ha minin’, a Jewish curse on heretics (minim) which also include Jewish Christians

Turned away from the synagogues they once prayed in, the followers of Christ most certainly found comfort and solace in the narration of Jesus’ own rejection in today’s Gospel. Yet the positioning of the Gospel is itself confusing.

Perhaps what perplexes us is why did Matthew place this Gospel at the end of the parable discourse? It seems a bit odd for the evangelist to end a series of powerful teachings on the kingdom with the rejection of Jesus. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the Gospels were originally written in continuous format; there were no chapters and verse. It was Robert Estienne who in 1551 introduced the numbering of verses within each chapter. The rejection of Jesus would read better if it was part of Chapter 14.

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