Gospel: Mt 9: 9-13
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
A CALL TO FOLLOW JESUS: In His ministry, we see Jesus associating with the sick, tax collectors and sinners. Today we see Jesus calling Mathew, a tax collector. This makes the Pharisees unhappy as they consider him a sinner and an enemy of the community. Jesus, however, knowing their thoughts, tells them that, those who are sick are the ones who need a physician. Jesus came for sinners and for the needy. In response to this invitation by Jesus, Mathew leaves all and follows his new Master. He leaves his past life. Jesus is calling us, each and every moment, to leave our past sinful life and renew ourselves. What is holding us back from following Jesus? Let us listen to His call.
PRAYER: Lord help me to hear your voice and follow you.
LOVE HEALS AND TRANSFORMS: For Jews, Mathew was an outcast, because he was a traitor. He collaborated with the occupying Roman army and collected excessive taxes. Therefore, he was ostracized socially, and still worse, spiritually. But, Jesus with love called him to be with Him. No amount of sermonizing and isolation can heal the sick or convert the sinner. Only patient and understanding love can do it. To show His love for them, Jesus ate with the sinners and the outcasts. To restore them to health, dignity and self-worth the sick, he was in their company. His mission is to heal and to save. His mission is integral liberation and holistic salvation. A friendly meal creates and celebrates solidarity, friendship and fellowship. The Eucharist is a foretaste of the joyous heavenly banquet. Do you feel that you have been loved by our Lord Jesus? Does His love transform you into His likeness? Do you have a great desire to receive Him in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?
GOD’S DESIRE: Jesus says two things: “I desire mercy,” and, “I have come not to call the righteous but sinners.” In the calling of Matthew, he acts on those words. We see a powerful manifestation of this desire for mercy in his calling the despised tax collector Matthew to be his disciple and apostle. Christ indeed came to call not the just but the morally sick to repentance. As soon as Matthew is called, he begins to bring his friends to receive that same gift from Jesus. He is an example of good soil who receives the gift of the Lord’s mercy. The Pharisees, on the other hand, have hardened soil. St. Paul in today’s first reading urges us to live in a manner worthy of the calling we have received and to come to full maturity in Christ. Two things that can happen when we live in a manner worthy of God’s mercy are first to receive and share the Good News, and second to mature and become as merciful as our Father is merciful. He, the Divine Physician, wants to heal us with his medicine and send us out as his nurses.