Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Feast of St. Matthew
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“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.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” MT 9:9-13
As humans, we like to put people in categories or label them. We do this starting at a very young age. We create such labels as dumb jock, nerd, ugly, pretty, smart, funny, popular, athletic, tech savvy, gamer, etc. Sometimes we take it a step further and we can be racist. These labels tend to stick and sadly some people start to believe in them. We label ourselves in our own minds and start to believe we can or cannot do something. We sometimes judge quickly by appearance or we judge someone by what they say. A person’s color of skin, how much money they have or don’t have, or religion can make us feel uncomfortable.
God is the Father of us all. Jesus sees us on an equal playing field as sinners. If we are striving for holiness, we too must change the way we see people and treat people. Jesus showed us compassion and shows compassion to the greatest of sinners. Who else do those who have sinned the greatest have to turn to. As humans we stop helping or forgiving at some point. We must see Jesus in each other and accept each other as sinners.
Today, Jesus chooses one of His Apostles from a group of public sinners, tax collectors. They collected taxes from the people and returned the money to the governor of that area. Many times the tax collectors were very wealthy because they had pocketed some of the money before they took it back to the governor. By today’s standards this sin would be worthy of excommunication from the Church much like abortion is today. This is who Jesus chose to represent the 12 tribes of Israel, to be one of the first bishops, to be seated in a high place in heaven with Him? Really? This reminds me of the seminarian poster for our diocese a couple of years ago, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
Everyone is a sinner who needs God’s mercy. God never tires of forgiving. Have you accepted yourself as a sinner? I have come to know Jesus Christ better through my sin and suffering more than anything else. My sin and suffering have led me on my knees back to Him and into some deep silent prayer with Him. I have asked Him to be with me in my moments of temptation and suffering. We must stop putting ourselves above others based on sin. We need to stop labeling and judging (unless it is based on the 10 commandments and we need to keep rule) and start being compassionate, suffer with people (Is there anyone who doesn’t suffer something?)
We need to stop judging and labeling ourselves. Accept your identity as an adopted son or daughter of God through Baptism. You are never alone, you have a purpose and mission, and you are always loved. God can’t lie and He promises us these things. He is with us always. So, instead of relying on human opinion and your own opinion of yourself which is based off of everyone else’s opinions, talk to God everyday and ask Him what He made you for. Ask Him what your mission and purpose are, your vocation. God is your Creator and knows exactly what He made you for. He has big dreams for you! So, when Jesus comes to you and says, “Follow me” we are ready for the greatest adventure in this life and we will be prepared to be holy and enter into eternal life with Him. Matthew’s story of conversion is important for us to reflect on because it is our conversion story, too!
Today’s challenge: Have mercy on someone like God always has mercy on you. Start with the person right next to you in your home. Be ready for God’s call. Say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be every day for your vocation.
Be a servant, become a saint!