Reading: As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9.
Good morning, happy Wednesday, and many blessings my dear family.
With today’s Gospel (Matthew 9:9-13) we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew. The Gospel reading for today is “the call of Matthew.” Jesus saw Matthew as he walked by Matthew’s custom post. Jesus simply said to Matthew, “follow me,” and immediately, Matthew got up and followed Jesus.
Matthew then invited Jesus and the disciples to his home to share a meal. Many tax collectors and sinners also were invited to the meal and sat in the midst of Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they were scandalized. They asked Jesus’ disciples: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” However, the disciples did not have a chance to respond to the question. Jesus had heard their question and said: “Those who are well do not have need of a physician, the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words: I desire mercy, not sacrifice!” Jesus continues: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
We can only imagine what Jesus saw in Matthew, what it was that caused him to call him to be a disciple. Much as we would like to know, we trust Jesus. As I think of Jesus calling me, I like to think I know why. I pray that I may continue to follow Jesus – even when I am not sure what he has seen in me or how he is calling me to life.
We get so used to planning and arranging that we think God must surely agree with us! As I come into God’s presence now, I realize that I am approaching tremendous mystery and ask, with awe and humility, for the help I need. I ask forgiveness for any way in which I have become self-satisfied, for thinking that I know all God’s ways.
Jesus is inclusive – even ‘tax collectors and sinners’ are welcomed. They represent those whose professions and social status are ‘not respectable’. But Jesus shows that he has come for all people, without exception, and especially the weak and the vulnerable, the ‘sick’ and the ‘sinner’.
How inclusive and compassionate Jesus is in his ministry! I ask myself if I am prejudiced against any individuals or groups? Lord, help me to become more like you in thought, word, and deed. Make me large-hearted.
We are challenged when we see that Jesus was tolerant of sinners. I allow my time of prayer to draw me into understanding Jesus more fully.