The Gospel of Matthew, According to The St. Paul Center
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STEUBENVILLE, OH (August 4, 2011) - The Bible is the word God speaks to you," said Father Pablo Gadenz, a professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. "Prayer is the word you speak to God. The reading of the Bible must remain in the context of the liturgical celebration. We give glory to God through our prayer of adoration and praise."
The Applied Biblical Studies Conference, a collaboration between the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and Franciscan University of Steubenville, drew over 400 participants from as far away as Argentina and Australia to Franciscan University of Steubenville for three days of prayer, fellowship, and reflection on the Gospel of Matthew.
"Matthew comes at the end of the old and the beginning of the new," said Dr. Scott Hahn, coauthor of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament. "You could describe the Old Testament as a story in search of an ending. Matthew is the ending. Matthew is the culmination, the climax, and the transformative fulfillment of the Old Covenant into the New, a fulfillment that restores much of what the Jews had come to love, but at the same time, a fulfillment that didn't merely restore but transformed the covenant people of God. That's what we want to study in our times together over the next few days."
"And what better Gospel to focus on than Matthew?" Hahn said. "The tradition of our Church attributes this Gospel to Matthew, aka Levi," who is identified in Luke 5 as a tax collector.
"As a tax collector," said Hahn, "we can assume he was well-trained in record keeping, probably very organized, and thus ideally suited to be the first to give us a record, not only as an eyewitness, but as a trained scribe who was skilled and experienced in keeping records.
"Matthew is the first Gospel published bearing the name of one of the twelve apostles. It's also the longest Gospel, by far," and the most Jewish of the four gospels.
Hahn said that Matthew's Gospel was the most widely read and disseminated Gospel in early Christianity, and was the principal Gospel of the Church's liturgy up until 1970, when the three-year lectionary was published. "Suddenly Catholics were reading more of the Bible on any given Sunday than any Christian body you could find on planet earth. Within five years, every leading Protestant denomination had basically adopted the Catholic lectionary," he said.
After Dr. Hahn's overview of the Gospel of Matthew, participants studied it in depth through general sessions with a number of St. Paul Center associates, including Jeff Cavins, coauthor of Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible, who discussed the Sermon on the Mount; Dr. Michael Barber, author of Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying Its Lessons Today, who presented on Jesus's sacramental miracles; Franciscan University theology professor Dr. John Bergsma, author of The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran, who discussed Jesus as the Son of David and his mission of creating a united kingdom of heaven; Dr. Edward Sri, coauthor of the entry on Matthew's Gospel in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, who presented on Simon being called Peter; and Dr. Brant Pitre, author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, who presented on Jesus's prophecies of the end of the world and the destruction of the Temple.
Now in its 10th year, Dr. Scott and Kimberly Hahn developed the Applied Biblical Studies Conference as a means for Catholics to become familiar with the Scriptures according to the understanding and interpretation of the Church.
"We are to be soaked in the word of God so that we know what it is to please God," explained Kimberly Hahn, author of the newly released Legacy of Love: Biblical Wisdom for Parenting Teens and Young Adults, to participants in the pre-conference Journey Through Scripture (JTS), which certifies people as presenters of the St. Paul Center's Bible studies.
Dr. Scott Hahn agreed. "The most effective way to transform the earth is to set your mind on heaven," said Hahn, author of The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth. "And I'm convinced that when you read the Church Fathers, the reason why they follow the Gospel as it has been expounded so profoundly here—humility, love, service, forgiveness, persecution, suffering—is precisely because their ultimate desire was not to Christianize society, but to obtain a heavenly kingdom and to take as many people with them as possible. When you set your heart on heaven, you've got nothing to fear on earth, and it's only when we're that fearless that we'll become that loving."
Carlos de Marcos of San Patricio Parish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, found the conference to be "a place where God is loved and taught, to promote the Catholic doctrine and love for God. You see academics, people who have learned, who have studied a lot, who are really knowledgeable about their Christian doctrine."
"And the Scripture is revealed in a wonderful way," added his wife, Luisa. "It opens the mind and opens the heart also. I also loved the combination of liturgy and teaching. It's like a kind of retreat."
For Bible studies, books by many of the presenters, and a wealth of resources on Scripture and theology, see the website of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (www.salvationhistory.com). For audio recordings of the main talks by conference speakers, go to www.franciscan.edu/bookstore and click on the "Conferences" tab at the top of the homepage.
For more information on Franciscan University's conferences, including a complete list of conferences for adults and youth, go to www.franciscanconferences.com.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
http://www.franciscan.edu OH, 43952 US
Tom Sofio - Associate Director of Public Relations,
Applied Biblical Studies Conference, Scott Hahn, Kimberly Hahn, Jeff Cavins, summer conferences,
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