Memory of the apostles

Berbagi Di

Feast of Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 9,9-13

As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him. Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When he heard this he replied, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church celebrates Matthew, apostle and evangelist. The first of the four Gospels takes his name: Matthew. He was a tax collector; this job was considered dishonourable by his countrymen because he collected taxes for the Roman dominant power. Jesus was walking by in Capernaum, and saw Matthew, and, instead of passing by spitefully like everyone else, he stopped and called him: "Follow me!" One word, evidently very powerful, was enough and Matthew "got up and followed him." The initiative is all Jesus', exclusively his. For Jesus, as in the case of the bad reputation experienced by the tax collectors, the condition in which everyone finds himself is not relevant to become his disciple. In Jesus' call there is a mystery of love marked by total gratuitousness. The intuition of such love makes Matthew get up from his desk and follow the Master. From that moment Matthew's life changed. Pope Francis chose as his motto a phrase that a Father of the Church, Bede the Venerable, used to describe the strength of this call: "Miserando atque eligendo", "looking with mercy he chose him." That call was the fruit of mercy. Matthew did not sit collecting taxes anymore; he became a disciple and gathered sinners to celebrate around Jesus. The world - it is the Pharisees' harsh reaction - does not understand what is happening, but this is the innovation of the Gospel that is disconcerting to the majority of people: everyone's heart, with no exceptions, can be touched and everyone can change his or her life, starting from sinners. In front of the objections posed to the disciples, Jesus answers: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." And recalling Hosea he adds: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." With the Gospel that bears his name, Matthew continues to remind us of the primacy of the Word of God in our life. Let us listen to it, as Matthew and the other disciples of any time did, and let us begin to follow Jesus to be part of the realization of the kingdom of God from now in our cities.