Thought for Tuesday, September 21st
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist (readings)
Note: Since I preach nearly every day, I thought I’d begin the practice of offering a small daily reflection on the Church’s readings here at the blog. While I certainly will not offer these on a daily basis, I hope that someone out there benefits from seeing my ramblings posted on a semi-regular basis.
Notice the exchange between Jesus and Matthew early in the Gospel. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and Matthew responds by getting up and following him.
There are no questions, no arguments, no signs of shock on Matthew’s part. He simply gets up and follows our Lord. A tax collector, Matthew was despised by the “righteous” of Israel as one who may have repeatedly swindled the People of God for his own gain, and for the gain of a foreign ruling body. Matthew had cause to resemble Peter in his protestations, insisting that the Lord must flee from such a sinful man.
But Matthew doesn’t. He simply stands up, and follows after Christ.
In our spiritual lives, we tend to be our own worst enemies. Whenever it hits us that we need to reform some facet of our lives, whenever we feel that sense of invitation on Christ’s part, we’re often tempted to say, “But…” We’re tempted to withdraw, to hesitate, to remain where we are because we see in our faults and limitations something that excludes us from the invitation. We stay rooted in the past, unable to move forward into the future God has called us to.
As God explains in this Gospel, He wouldn’t have bothered calling Matthew if he were perfect according to the letter of the Law. It’s precisely because of his faults that Jesus asks him to follow after him. And it’s precisely because of ours that he reaches out to us this very day.