Thursday, July 04, 2019
FRIDAY, 13th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest and Religious Founder
Gn 23: 1 – 4, 19; 24: 1 – 8, 62 – 67 / Mt 9: 9 – 13
GOSPEL READING: Mt 9: 9 – 13
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom-house, and he said to him, "Follow me." And Matthew got up and followed him.
Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, "Why is it that your master eats with those sinners and tax collectors?"
When Jesus heard this he said, "Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go and find out what this means: What I want is mercy and not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
There are two key points we could consider from the Gospel reading today.
The first is how Matthew, the tax collector, was called by Jesus. Walking by the custom-house, Jesus sees Matthew, a tax collector, Jesus simply tells him, "Follow me!" and, without any hesitation or thought, Matthew "got up [from his seat at the custom-house] and followed him."
Did Jesus know about Matthew before? There must have been other tax-collectors in the custom-house: why choose and call Matthew? God's choices and ways are indeed inexplicable to men: yet we know God knows what he is doing.
Matthew's response was one of great generosity and trust in Jesus: what did Matthew know about Jesus? What kind of a man was Matthew? Except that he was named among the Twelve, there is nothing more about Matthew in the Gospels. Matthew wrote the first Gospel which was written in Aramaic. Tradition says Matthew preached in Persia and Ethiopia. He was martyred in Ethiopia.
The second key point was Jesus' reiteration of his mission in life, "Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. . . I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
This was a simplified statement of his mission, as compared to what he had read and affirmed from the prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and announce the Lord's year of mercy." "Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen." (Lk 4: 18 – 19, 21)
Hence, we see Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners; we see him forgiving sin; we hear him give the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Merciful Father. We see him promising heaven to the good thief and praising the humility and faith of the publican in his parable.
We thank the Lord for his loving mercy for all of us, sinners that we are.
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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