(CNN)Ah, it's good to be in a place that I recognize -- the Gospel of Matthew.
But, wait. Do I really?
When I left the Old Testament, I thought the stories of the New Testament were going to be the ones that I was used to and knew all about.
Boy, was I wrong.
It started at the beginning. The introduction says Matthew may not have been the author of the gospel. Matthew's work appears to have been based on the gospels of Mark and Luke, and real author is not known. My Bible says the list Matthew as the author for "convenience sake." I will stay with that, too.
Matthew starts with the "Genealogy of Jesus." I liked how I have read all about these kings that went before him -- I even got a reminder of my old friend Obed, father of Jesse, and King David, too.
Then Jesus is born and it is a short paragraph. I thought the nativity would be a chapter onto itself, but within a few short pages, Jesus is already being baptized by John, and then on to the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes.
The Beatitudes have always been a favorite. I have always felt a kinship to "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9). That is the way that I want to be remembered.
For some reason, I didn't realize that the Sermon on the Mount went on past the Beatitudes. It lasts for two whole chapters. It touches all the tenets of what has become the Catholic faith and Jesus' expansion of the Ten Commandments. For example, when touching upon "thou shall not kill," it actually means to not have ill feeling toward your brother. You are supposed to settle your differences peacefully.
In the subsequent chapters, another short paragraph stopped me. Matthew mentions some curing miracles that Jesus did after the sermon. And then this:
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant shall be healed."
That passage is found in the short story of a Roman soldier who asks Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, but says he isn't worthy of hosting Jesus in his home.
I never understood why we changed the Mass liturgy a few years ago and now I get the chance to solve one of my faith riddles. The changes in the Mass happened back in 2011. We went from saying, "I am not worthy to receive you" to "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."
I remember those fliers in the pews giving us the new verses that needed to be learned. I had to do undo almost 40 years of memorization in favor of something that didn't make sense to me.
Am I a house? Is it my roof? Of course, back then, I wasn't curious enough to ask my priest or to look for the explanation. I just accepted the change and vowed to eventually memorize it.
But, when I read the story in Matthew I realized it was the story of someone in power (a centurion commanded 100 men, according to my foot note) requesting help, but not commanding Jesus to do it. When Jesus recognizes the man's faith in him, he cures the servant.
This passage sent me to do some research online. According to an article I found from Catholic News Service from 2011, this was an attempt to bring the stories of the Gospel more into the Mass. And because the centurion was so "humble" requesting the help of Jesus, it is what we are supposed to do as well.
Finally, I get it.
Once again, this project has explained those things that I have always wondered about. And now onto more in Matthew.