FSC Associate Articles
FSC Associate Group Day - Saturday, June 18, 2022
Topic: Gospel of Matthew - Part 3 - Presenter: Dawn Mayer
By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate
In April, May and June, we learned about the Gospel of Matthew. A topic of concentration from Dawn’s May presentation was the Sermon on the Mount, which is one of the Five Great Sermons. In June, we examined the four remaining sermons which are the Missionary Discourse, Sermon of the Parables, Sermon on the Church and the Eschatological Sermon.
The Associates and Sisters attending the June group day were broken up into four small groups for an exercise. Each group was assigned one of the four remaining sermons. Dawn handed out a sheet that had topics from each of the four sermons. From that sheet we chose one topic from our assigned sermon to discuss.
My group was assigned the Sermon on the Church. After a bit of discussion, we chose to reflect on the topic “Where two or three are gathered together”. This topic is from Matthew 18: 19 – 20 which says: “Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
“Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18: 19 – 20)
Dawn posed two questions for each group to answer about the selected sermon topic. The questions from Dawn and answers given by my group are below.
The first question was: What is the message to the people of Jesus’ time? Jesus was teaching the people of His time that even when a small number of them gathered together, God was with them. They didn’t need to gather as a large group in the synagogue for God to be present among them.
The second question was: What is the message for us? One message for the people of our time is that it’s important for us to come together in community at Mass. People are the Church, and we need to be in community with others. As part of our discussion on this question, my group talked about our experiences of coming back together at Mass after COVID lockdown.
After the small groups finished sharing how they answered the questions about the assigned sermon, Dawn continued her presentation of Matthew’s Gospel. Many of the stories that Dawn reviewed with us contained a message that was just as relevant to the people of current times as it was to the people of Jesus’ time.
One familiar story that Dawn examined with us was from Matthew 19:16 – 24. This story is about the rich young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to gain eternal life. Jesus told him to follow the commandments, which the young man was already doing. Then Jesus told the young man to sell what he had and follow Him. The young man went away sad because he had many possessions. This story shows that being a disciple and following Jesus is not easy.
When Dawn talked about Jesus’ death as recorded in Matthew Chapter 27, she posed a question to the group. Dawn asked if we thought that Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but I found the answers from the group to be very insightful.
Christ and the young rich ruler
by Heinrich Hofmann (1889)
One of the answers was that “Jesus may have known, but not fully. Things got revealed as He went along, like with the Canaanite woman.” During her presentation, Dawn talked about the story of the Canaanite woman from Matthew 15: 21-28. A Canaanite woman asked for Jesus’ help with her daughter who was tormented by demons. Jesus’ mission had been focused on the salvation of the Jewish people, but His eyes were opened to include Gentiles because of His encounter with the Canaanite woman.
In a previous presentation, Dawn said that Scripture is a window into the story and it’s a mirror back at us. Learning about the Gospel of Matthew brought this point to mind. During the three sessions on the Gospel of Matthew, we reflected on our own lives based on sections of Matthew’s Gospel. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about the Gospel of Matthew.
The Woman of Canaan at the Feet of Christ
by Jean Germain Drouais (1784)
FSC Associate Group Day
FSC Associate Group Day - Saturday, May 14, 2022
Topic: Gospel of Matthew - Part 2 - Presenter: Dawn Mayer
In April, May and June, we are learning about the Gospel of Matthew. In her May presentation, Dawn concentrated on several sections in Matthew’s Gospel. One topic of focus was the Sermon on the Mount, which is one of the Five Great Sermons.
Dawn showed us a video clip from The Chosen, a TV drama based on the life of Jesus. The video clip was about Jesus and the Beatitudes. In the video, Jesus presents each of the Beatitudes while Matthew writes them down. In each Beatitude, Jesus describes a group of people and calls them blessed. These groups have characteristics that contradict what popular society would hold in esteem. Jesus tells Matthew, “If someone wants to find me, those are the groups they should look for.”
We divided into small groups where we reflected on the Beatitudes, keeping in mind the clip from The Chosen. We discussed the people and groups that Jesus speaks of in the Beatitudes and where we would find them in the present day.
The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch (1890)
My group discussed the Beatitude: Blessed are they who mourn, they shall be comforted. We are all mourning on some level. We mourn people who have died and people who have a terminal illness. We mourn “the way things used to be” before COVID. We mourn missed opportunities and events. We mourn a time when there was less division among the people around us.
As a group, we recognized that Jesus is present with those who mourn. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to support each other in times of mourning and loss.
Based on the Beatitudes, the small groups gave present day examples of people and groups where Jesus could be found. Some of the examples where one could find Jesus in our time are among the elderly, immigrants, children, people with special needs and victims of violence.
The video clip from The Chosen along with our discussion and sharing time helped me to visualize the people and groups that Jesus presents as examples of virtues to emulate based on the Beatitudes.
Another topic that Dawn concentrated on was Jesus’ healing. Previously, people believed that the Messiah would be a warrior-king who would free Israel from Roman rule. However, this is not what the people of Jesus’ time saw in Him. Jesus welcomed people who were outcasts of society and healed those who were considered unclean or unworthy. Jesus healed to help people recognize Him as the Messiah.
One of the healing stories in Matthew’s Gospel is the cleansing of a leper. Lepers were required to shout ‘unclean, unclean’ when someone approached them. Instead of staying away, the leper in Matthew’s Gospel approaches and speaks to Jesus. The leper exhibits amazing faith. Jesus can heal from afar, yet He chose to touch the leper, which would have made Him ritually unclean.
Another healing story from Matthew’s Gospel is the healing of the centurion’s servant. When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached Him and asked for healing for his servant who was lying at home paralyzed and suffering. Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion said that he was not worthy to have Jesus enter his house. The centurion believed that if Jesus said the word, he knew that his servant would be healed. This story shows the great faith of the centurion, but also that this man, who was a Gentile, recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
Taking the time to reflect on these familiar healing stories pointed out people of great faith in Jesus’ time. The stories show bold actions of someone approaching Jesus to ask for healing. These stories are good reminders to me that Jesus should be top of my list when asking for healing for myself or for a loved one.
Christ cleansing a leper
by Jean-Marie Melchior Doze (1864)
Jesus and the Centurion by Paolo Veronese (1571)