The main ideas of Saint Matthew

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The Deep End: A Journey with the Sunday Gospels of the Year of Matthew
by Triona Doherty and Jane Mellett
(Messenger Posts, €14.95/£12.95)

Some readers may know the authors from their first book written together. Jane Mellett is an experienced pastoralist, while Tríona Doherty is currently the editor of Reality magazine.

God is always on the side of the poor, of those who thirst for justice and peace, of those who are persecuted and of those who mourn.

But this book may well be an important experience for their readers. For they explain that it is the Gospel attributed to Saint Matthew, which presents us with the Beatitudes – the basic statement of Christian belief, whether we all like them or not. For they certainly challenge the notion held by many evangelicals, who like to think that “good Christians” receive not only grace, but also worldly riches. Christian bookstores in Ireland, Europe and North America often have a section devoted to books expounding this view. I think they make watching sad.

The authors, however, want to emphasize that “God is always on the side of the poor, of those who thirst for justice and peace, of those who are persecuted and of those who mourn”. It is Jesus also who emphasizes what we must do for those who are imprisoned either in spirit or in body.

Basic ideas

This book offers an excellent presentation of these fundamental ideas. But more than that, they bring to the task at hand the perspective of pastoral theologians. Merely adding a feminine dimension to human affairs does not lead, as so many people in the past thought, to a kinder, kinder world, as once hoped. To achieve this, we need all of us to work together.

This book will provide readers with a very affirmative presentation of the Christian perspective – in itself a very useful thing. But this book will also provide comforting reading in the darkening days of autumn that herald a darker winter.

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