Thursday, June 30, 2005



JULY 1, 2005

GENESIS 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67
The span of Sarah's life was one hundred and twenty-seven years. She
died in Kiriatharba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and
Abraham performed the customary mourning rites for her. Then he left
the side of his dead one and addressed the Hittites: "Although I am a
resident alien among you, sell me from your holdings a piece of
property for a burial ground, that I may bury my dead wife." After
the transaction, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the
field of Machpelah, facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of
Canaan. Abraham had now reached a ripe old age, and the LORD had
blessed him in every way. Abraham said to the senior servant of his
household, who had charge of all his possessions: "Put your hand
under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of
heaven and the God of earth, that you will not procure a wife for my
son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live, but that
you will go to my own land and to my kindred to get a wife for my son
Isaac." The servant asked him: "What if the woman is unwilling to
follow me to this land? Should I then take your son back to the land
from which you migrated?" "Never take my son back there for any
reason," Abraham told him. "The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me
from my father's house and the land of my kin, and who confirmed by
oath the promise he then made to me, `I will give this land to your
descendants'- he will send his messenger before you, and you will
obtain a wife for my son there. If the woman is unwilling to follow
you, you will be released from this oath. But never take my son back
there!" A long time later, Isaac went to live in the region of the
Negeb. One day toward evening he went out . . . in the field, and as
he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching. Rebekah,
too, was looking about, and when she saw him, she alighted from her
camel and asked the servant, "Who is the man out there, walking
through the fields toward us?" "That is my master," replied the
servant. Then she covered herself with her veil. The servant
recounted to Isaac all the things he had done. Then Isaac took
Rebekah into his tent; he married her, and thus she became his wife.
In his love for her, Isaac found solace after the death of his mother

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."

Let us look at our Gospel reading today, the call of Matthew the tax
collector, from two perspectives: Jesus' and Matthew's.

For Jesus, a man who presented himself as more than a prophet, only
one thing could be more controversial than making friends with a tax
collector: that is, making a disciple out of him. Tax collectors were
hated by the Jews. They worked and stood for the Roman colonizers by
collecting tax for the government, and so were regarded as traitors.
They also took bribes from the rich and collected more tax than was
legal from the poor and powerless, for their own profit. They had no
conscience. No wonder that in Jewish law they were debarred from the
synagogue. "Robbers, murderers, and tax-gatherers" were classed

And yet, Jesus called Matthew, not only to be his friend, but to
share the responsibility of his work. What did Jesus see in him? More
than simply giving a most powerful demonstration of his message of
God as mercy, Jesus must have been drawn to him, truly. Matthew was
more than a teaching aid. He was a good person, covered up by layers
and layers of selfishness, of fear, of insecurity. Just as we all
are. But Jesus was not fooled by these layers. He saw through them.
He sees us. He had faith in Matthew. He has faith in us.

For Matthew, Jesus' call that day must have been half-expected. He
must have heard or even seen Jesus, this young, unorthodox, confident
preacher and miracle-worker, who had developed a reputation for
preferring to mingle with outcasts like himself. Something in Jesus'
words and person must have attracted him, and stirred in the deep
recesses of his heart the faint echoes of a covered-up self; so that
when Jesus finally extended his hand, he did not delay. "Matthew got
up and followed him." Even if this meant leaving behind a profitable
and financially secure job. Even if this promised all the derision
and suspicion that the self-righteous are bound to inflict on him.
Even if the only assurance he had that he would not fail in his new
and difficult job was his Master's faith in him.

Matthew answered Jesus' call because Jesus believed in him. Just as
Abraham stubbornly clung in faith to the Lord's promise and sent his
servant to look for a wife for Isaac, because God put faith in him
and called him to be the father of his nation. May we have faith in
the goodness in others and in ourselves, as God has first put his
faith in us.

"Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold;
Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful;
cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak;
strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill
them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours;
possess them always and only for yourself." (Prayer of Augustine, 354-

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the special intention of Genesis P. Uichanco. (6/28)
- for the healing and recovery of Mommy Tuazon. (6/29)
- for the speedy recovery of Ernest Hernandez. (6/30)
- Birthday Thanksgiving: Ma. Theresa P. Guevarra
- Birthday Thanksgiving: Martin M. Guevarra
- for the personal intentions of Ma. Theresa Guevarra. (7/1)
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Francis B. Ang
- Prayer Intention: Cornelio Salazar Onal & John Meneleo
- Prayer Intention: Extraordinaire Salon since 1990
- Wedding Anniversary: Mariane & Francis Ang Jr.
- In Memoriam: Edward Robert Yu
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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