Memory of the apostles

Deel Op

Memorial 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 remembers Matthew, apostle and evangelist. In the Jewish language his name was Levi, and his profession, tax collector, was considered dishonourable by his countrymen because he collected taxes for the dominant foreign power. They were called contemptuously "publicans" and generally they were corrupt and demanding. Jesus was walking by in Capernaum and saw Matthew, and, instead of passing by spitefully like everyone else, he stopped nearby his desk where he was exacting taxes and called him: "Follow me," One word is enough and Matthew "got up and followed him," For Jesus no one is excluded from the call of the Gospel, whatever his or her situation, even if it is ill-reputed. What counts for Jesus is to welcome his call into one's heart. This is exactly what the tax collector Matthew did. And at that moment his life changed. Up until then he had thought about accumulating for himself, but then all he did was follow that Teacher. It was not a sacrifice for him, but a celebration. Matthew was so happy following that teacher that he planned a dinner with Jesus and invited his friends, tax collectors and sinners. It was a strange banquet that nonetheless prefigured the alliance between Christians and the poor for whom Jesus lived and preached. The world 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, especially sinners. Jesus clarifies this to those who did and do not want to understand: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." In fact, it is written: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." With the Gospel that bears his name, Matthew reminds us of the centrality of the Word of God. As it was for Matthew, one word is all it takes for our lives to change. Let us listen to it, as Matthew did, and let us begin to follow Jesus too.