24th Thursday in Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint Matthew
Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13; Matthew 9: 9-13
“Follow Me.” These two little words changed Matthew’s life. Picture Matthew reviewing his account ledgers. He is surrounded by people complaining about their exorbitant taxes. Over this din of voices, he hears these two simple words that pierce him right to the heart: “Follow Me.” The encounter between Jesus and Matthew echoes a passage taken from the Prophet Isaiah. “I made myself available to those who did not ask for me. I was found by those who weren’t looking for me” (Is. 65: 1). The tax collector who was balancing his tax accounts was called by Christ to make an account of himself. As I was reflecting on this scene, I was struck by the similarity between the call of Matthew and the encounter with Zacchaeus. “Come to me, I must be a guest at you house today” (Cf. Lk. 19:5).
Matthew left his collection post, just as Zacchaeus came out of the tree. Christ did not come to badger the sinner, but to help each one to come to the fullness of joy and inner peace. The Author of Revelations records these words: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and we shall share a meal together as friends” (Rev.3:20). God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son into the world to seek out and save the lost. Jesus came to be Light and Life in a world that was lost in darkness and death. Jesus sought those who did not seek Him. He called those by name who had not called upon Him.
Christ came into the world to make His home in each of our hearts. Jesus came into the world to seek and find those who were lost and in finding them to offer them salvation. Jesus came to seek out those who had sold their birthright in the pursuit of worldly success. Jesus came to be one with those who were aliened and marginalized. He did not come into the world to condemn it, but to extend to every person the mercy of the Father. Because Jesus is the Mercy of God made tangible, we who feel ourselves unloved or unwanted can live in hope. Because Jesus has shown us that even though we have fallen from grace and are lost in sin, we are valuable in the eyes of God. Eternal life is a gift from our loving Father, offered freely and abundantly. Are we willing to accept the gift and respond to the call of His Son?