Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Book of Genesis 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67, Psalm 106:1b-2, 3-4a, 4b-5, &
All doctors only cared for patients who were in perfect health, and all dentist’s patients had perfect teeth?Counselors only saw happy and well-adjusted clients?Universities only admitted highly educated students?Eyeglasses were only given to those with 20-20 vision?Jesus only welcomed righteous people to follow Him?
'The Calling of St. Matthew' oil panel by Jan Sanders van Hemessen, circa 1548.
If all of this were true, we would be in trouble. In looking at the call of Matthew (as recorded in his Gospel narrative), we discover that Jesus came not for those who thought themselves righteous, but those who, knowing they were sinners, were open to His love and forgiveness.
No doubt the tax collector, Matthew (also known as Levi), had heard about Jesus. In the busyness of collecting taxes for the Romans (and himself) from his fellow Jews, he most certainly heard rumors about this young Rabbi who was making an impact through His preaching, teaching, and miracles. We could probably assume that Matthew thought of himself as someone who would not nor could not be part of Jesus’ target audience. He knew the reputation he had and how he was hated and mistrusted by his people.
To his surprise, Jesus approached and said, “Follow me!” On the surface, it appears that Matthew’s decision to drop everything and to take this leap of faith was somewhat impulsive and instantaneous. He did not stop to analyze the situation; however, he seemed to instantly know that Jesus saw something in him that was worth saving. He knew that Jesus was offering him so much more than what he had experienced.
After making this leap, Jesus went to dinner with Matthew and his circle of friends. The Pharisees, who were known for their need to appear righteous by following all the rules, appeared appalled at the sight of Jesus breaking bread with such a wicked group. Here is where we learn how Jesus can break down the barriers between insiders and outsiders. Instead of sitting in judgment like the Pharisees, Jesus loved and forgave those who needed it the most and were open to being called by Him.
Friends, Jesus approaches us amid our sinful lives, asks us to admit our needs, and calls us to take the leap of faith and receive the benefits of following Him.
Question of the Day: How will you follow Jesus and teach others to do the same?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may Your blessing be upon us always. Help us follow You and be Your good and faithful servant forever. Amen.