The Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13)
As Jesus passed on from there, 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I ask for your grace to look beyond the superficial elements of life, to see all with your eyes, and thus respond with your heart.
Encountering Christ: The power of the call from Jesus is strong AND compelling in the gospel today. How do we respond each day as Jesus calls us to serve him in the “Ordinary”?
We all respond quickly in serving God when the extraordinary comes around BUT do we take note of the daily needs God places before us OR do we simply let Jesus walk by and do not LISTEN to the call or mandate.
Often, we worry about what others will think of us when we respond to a situation facing us. We might worry that our compassion and care might be confused with personal weakness. Jesus calls us – he commands us – to “Follow Him” and begin to serve the Father more faithfully each and every day. We also see that Jesus and the Father stand by each of us in everything we are asked to do. As we serve God – we have the assurance that “God is with us” through it all. Faithful, in that relationship.
The Pharisees missed the whole point of Jesus associating with those “beneath” them. They were not able to see that Jesus was teaching and healing those most in need. Interesting though that those who were considered sinners and sick in both mind and body understood Jesus’ compassion and mercy more readily! They saw AND experienced God’s mercy, kindness, forgiveness and way to salvation first hand. Jesus touched them directly and associated himself with them so that they could experience God’s love – first hand.
If Jesus is so willing to share with those most in need AND lead by example, then how much more are we called to be “Christ Like” in our daily efforts to bring the good news of the gospel to those around us. And by the way…. the good news of the gospel always revolves around relationship and love. We simply have to listen, through our prayer time, and discern what the mission of the day is.
My final thought about the gospel today re-enforces my last comment. Jesus tells us to go and learn “mercy, not sacrifice”. We must approach our life of service to God in the sense that our daily service to others IS our act of mercy! We serve without looking for repayment. We give, not because we give to a need, but rather we give because we have the need to give. The greatest giving is the giving of ourselves to others!
I think we would all agree that we see ourselves as a blessed people. If we don’t, then we need to go back and see why we don’t see or experience the love of God. So if God blesses us every day AND we hear and see the blessings then we are compelled to simply pass along the blessings!
By the way – remember the last line of todays gospel. We all are sinners and Jesus plainly tells us he came specifically to call us. Thank you Lord for your compassion and mercy in my life. Let me joyfully serve you in all that I do!…..Amen!
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am a sinner in need of your mercy, especially when I fall into harsh judgments. Grant me the vision to look beyond my narrow-mindedness and see the lies sown by the enemy. Help me to receive your mercy, and in turn, respond to others with your merciful heart.
Action for the Day: Think about how you have been blessed today. Pray until you can identify that blessings and then go out and tell someone how you have been blessed and ask them how God has blessed them.