The man of St Matthew

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

CHAPTER 2: OVERVIEW

Chapter 2 tells of events during the childhood of Jesus, making a presentation with a specifc agenda which we will see as we read. We now hear the details about the time and place of the birth of Jesus which as we saw were not provided in chapter 1. We can read it as an exciting story as the child born in Bethlehem, becomes a refugee in Egypt before finding a home in Nazareth.

Read through the chapter with that in mind. Note how that the chapter falls into two parts. That will give us the two pages for our reading. Yet there is an overall unity to the chapter and we need to explore that further.

Who is the dominant person providing the agenda for the chapter?

A good guide to our reading is the different places where the events take place.

Another guide is the placing of the quotations from the Old Testament.
Look up the references: Micah 5,2; Hosea 11,1; Jeremiah 31,15. (The reference in verse 23 is vague as we will see.)

There is no OT quotation provided in verse 12. Look how the evangelist has made a break with verse 13.

Look now at my response.

We have now had a first look at chapter 2. With what we have discovered, a good way to read the chapter will be to take it as a play in two acts. The table in the response shows how there are two scenes in the first act and three in the second. The plot of the play we will see as it unfolds.

This would be a good moment to read Exodus chapters 1-3. We will be seeing how these chapters are part of the background to this chapter.

We can now begin our reading of the chapter with its first act: the coming of the magi.

Chapter 2 in the Liturgy

Chapter 2 is read at Mass as appropriate for the feasts of the Epiphany (6th January or the nearest Sunday) and the Holy Innocents (28th December).