The commentary of the cover

I proclaim to you true good news! by Pierre-Marie Dumont

This 15th-century fresco of an angel can be found in the Chapel of Saint Michael in Castirla, in the north of the “Isle of Beauty” (Corsica). Its unique style marries a revival of Romanesque, in­deed Byzantine, hieratic art with the touching freshness of very original local popular expressions. In his hand the angel bears his book of the Good News: it is Saint Matthew the Evangelist. The Fathers of the Church attributed to Matthew either the symbol of a man, because his book begins with Jesus’ human geneal­ogy (Mt 1:1-17), or the symbol of an angel, because, following the genealogy of Jesus as true man, his narrative per se begins with the appearance of an angel to Joseph, the angel whose message reveals the begetting of Jesus as true God (Mt 1:20-21). And it is again an angel in the Gospel according to Matthew who appears to announce the most stunning news in the history of humanity: Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said (Mt 28:5-6).

The Gospel according to Matthew is the one which, to the high­est degree, heralds the great Good News—that of the coming of the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, also called the Kingdom of heaven, is inaugurated on earth by the perfect fulfillment of Scripture in the person of Jesus, the Christ, the veritable God-with-us. Fulfilling and exalting the figure of Moses, Jesus frees humanity from slavery to sin and leads it on the path to the only true happiness: that heavenly blessedness that will be the perfect communion of all in God forever. To enter into this sublime fulfillment of human life, desired by the Creator from the foundation of the world, it remains to each of us, at the price of renunciation and sacrifice, to traverse the desert of earthly existence triumphantly by becoming a worthy and faithful member of the Church—the new ark of salvation, so to speak—until the end of time, the prototypical vessel of the Kingdom.

Pierre-Marie Dumont

An Angel (Symbol of Saint Matthew), 15th c., fresco from the Chapel of San Michele, Castirla, Haute-Corse. © Clément Guillaume / La Collection.