Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Well Said: Gospel and Emperors

In Jesus' time, the term "gospel" was used by Roman emperors for their proclamations. Independently of their content, they were described as "good news" or announcements of salvation, because the emperor was considered lord of the world and his every edict as a portent of good. Thus, the application of this phrase to Jesus' preaching had a strongly critical meaning, as if to say God, and not the emperor, is Lord of the world, and the true Gospel is that of Jesus Christ.
Pope Benedict XVI, The Joy of Knowing Christ
I'm really enjoying this book as a daily devotional. Each section is a two-page reflection on the gospels, taken from various homilies. They give me something simple yet profound to think about as I go about my day. We throw around the world gospel so often without stopping to recall the original meaning of good news. And now our eyes are opened to see that in coopting the word "gospel" Matthew is telling us something deeper and more significant than we knew. Context matters so much.

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