Year A: 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 9: 9-13
The Gospel today records the call of Matthew himself. As a tax collector, Matthew was not an obvious choice - but in the account of the meal which follows, we are offered some of the reasons that may have been in Jesusí mind.
The Pharisees were a group of deeply religious people who had very clear ideas about who was - and who was not - holy.
They had obviously identified Jesus as a holy man and were puzzled as to why He should want to be seen in the company of people who were clearly not good or holy. In fact, the feeling was that He might be contaminated by those with whom He was eating.
The disciplesí response is not given - but the comments have evidently been heard by Jesus.
Those who are not good - who are not holy - are those for whom He came. Jesus uses the image of Himself as a doctor, come to cure those who are sick. We know of His miracles and the physical healings He brought about - but these were only part of the story.
Jesus reminds His listeners of the words we will hear in the first Reading - that God does not need sacrifices to atone for sin - rather He asks that His human creatures act with the same mercy that He has shown them.
The virtuous are, hopefully, on their way to eternal life. Their observance of the Law and love of the Scriptures should fuel within them an ever deeper love of God and of their fellow human beings. They are called to continue the journey they have started.
Jesus is concerned for those who are on the fringes of the society - those who may not be allowed to offer sacrifices in the Temple - those who are ignorant of the Scriptures and the Law.
These are the people for whom He was sent into the world.
As a tax-collector, Matthew would not have been ashamed to have them around his table - and would have understood their need to be there - close to Jesus.
Here was a man who had made a huge difference to his own life - who had called him to be a follower. Here was a man who could make a difference to others.
What does it mean for me?
Text © 2007 WellspringWeekly Wellsprings |