Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13, Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5, & Matthew 9:9-13
I suspect that we could all agree that it would be easy for many to become both frustrated and depressed in our troubled world. There is so much evil, violence, and injustice everywhere we look. We can quickly feel helpless in believing that so much is out of control that there is not much any of us can do about it. The last time we checked, we found that none of us is God; therefore, how can we be effective in the world?
It may be easy to "give up" and let somebody else worry about the problem. However, Paul's letter to the Ephesians strongly rejects the "give up" argument. Today, he reminds us that we are called by our Lord and Savior "to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."
So, what does that life look? Paul tells us that it requires us to take the focus away from ourselves and to look toward others "…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love…." Why then are loving others so important? It is simple—Our call is not to fix the world's problems but to teach and purpose our lives to point others to Christ the Lord.
Here lies the challenge. Friends, how do we point people to Christ? Especially those that God has placed in our lives—members of our household, extended family, friends, and neighbors. At these moments, we ask ourselves if God could extend His grace to each of us, how then could we not extend the same kind of grace to others in our lives?
Today is the Memorial Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Matthew is the perfect example for us to meet our call to influence someone's life. In our Gospel narrative, Jesus teaches us how to deal with people who can be considered "hard to love."
Matthew, or Levi, was the corrupt tax collector, and the people despised tax collectors. How could anyone love and extend grace to someone who routinely cheated poor people out of their meager resources? Yet, Jesus met and called Matthew to "follow Him," knowing who he was and what he did. Jesus went to Matthew's home and ate among his friends, fellow tax collectors, and sinners. Our Lord explained His actions by saying to those who protested this act by saying, "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." There it is, then. "Mercy—Grace—Love!" Simple, yet profound.
Let us pray to our heavenly Father to change our response to those who He places in our lives. We thank God for opening our eyes and hearts to how deep His love and grace is for us as we move forward in our lives and extend our love and grace toward others. We thank God for showing us how essential grace and love are for those wishing to answer His call. We thank the good Saint Matthew, who showed us it is never too late to change who we are into what God desires us to become.
Question of the Day: Are you willing to open your eyes to God's Commandment to love others as you wish to be loved?
Prayer: Lord God, we ask that you open our hearts and minds to better focus on our specific call to evangelization. Amen.