Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Letter of Saint Paul to the Hebrews 4:12-16; Psalm 19:8-10, 15 & Mark 2:13-17
The Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio, circa 1600
There are numerous examples of people who were drawn to Jesus during His public ministry. Many of them were considered unwanted, unlovable, and outcasts in their own community. They were the lame, the blind, the diseased, and the homeless; the public sinners and probably the most despised were the tax collectors. In today's Gospel narrative, Jesus calls Levi, soon to become Matthew, a tax collector to become one of His disciples.
I am quite certain there is more to the story than what we hear in the Gospel of Saint Mark. However, wouldn't it be wonderful if all Jesus had to do was to "pass by" the customs post of Matthew and speak two words, "follow me," and Matthew actually did. He got up and left his sinful life behind and began a new life as a follower of Christ.
For me, the call of Saint Matthew is one of the most triumphant healings of Jesus. I believe Jesus looked past his sinful nature and read his heart, and saw a generous spirit willing to know and live the truth. He heard Jesus' call and responded immediately to his new life and vocation.
Vocation is a perspective that God has called and equipped people to serve Him through their work in the world. Vocation comes from the Latin word 'vocare', which means call, and this calling means the work we are called to by God. Not all of us are called to the Sacrament of Holy Orders (priesthood and diaconate) or a consecrated religious life. However, this does not mean that we are not called to serve. We must continue to give of our time, talent, and treasure to serve God and our neighbors in the manner in which God calls us. All we have to do is listen and follow Him.
Question of the Day: How will you recognize God's voice and respond to the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet?
Prayer: Merciful God and Father, never let me stray away from You. Then neither will You abandon me. Amen.