The Holy Gospel according to Matthew (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.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: The Italian artist, Caravaggio, painted a painting titled, The calling of St. Matthew. In the painting, Matthew is sitting at a table with 4 others. Jesus is standing in front of the table pointing at Matthew with his right hand as he calls Matthew. Surprised, Matthew draws back and gestures toward himself with his left hand as if to say, “Who, me?” The Gospel tells us that Matthew got up and followed Jesus. Matthew is a tax-collector. Tax-collectors were unpopular people, collaborators with the occupying Roman forces. The call of Matthew therefore is shocking. But the Lord called him anyway.
Then we hear how Jesus shared table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees noticed who was with Jesus at table and they expressed their disprovable. Jesus welcomes tax collectors and sinners. They represent those who are ‘not respectable’. As Jesus tells us in the Gospel, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” But Jesus shows that he has come for all people, without exception, and especially the weak and the vulnerable, the ‘sick’ and the ‘sinner’.
Action for the day. Jesus is calling each of us too discipleship and to follow him. What is our reaction? Are we like Matthew, hesitant at first because we also ask Jesus, “Who me?” Maybe we think that we are not worthy of a call because we are sinners. Guess what, Jesus still welcomes us and calls us. What is God’s call on your life? What is God’s vocation for you? God has a plan for you. He has a calling, a vocation intended for each of you. Take some time in prayer today to try to discern where God is calling you, and what God’s plan is for you.