Friday, September 21, 2012 by Food for Thought
FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW
FirstReading: Eph 4:1-7, 11-13
Psalm: Ps 19:2-3, 4-5
Gospel: Mt 9:9-13
Matthew, before he became an apostle and a saint, was a tax collector. He was totally involved in serving his own self-interest. Tax collectors in Jesus’ day, were a despised group. They were local
Jewish people who were allowed to keep a percentage of the taxes they collected for the Romans. The Jews saw these Jewish tax collectors as oppressors of their own people. Jesus looked through this ugly image to the person behind it. Matthew was quick to answer the call. Perhaps he saw in Jesus someone who did not treat him with the contempt and hostility to which he had been accustomed. When Jesus said to Matthew: “Come follow me”, he was calling Matthew to serve others and Matthew responded wholeheartedly.
We who follow Christ are called to serve others. Our Lord says: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” When we serve others especially those with whom we live, it makes us feel inferior. However, when we serve outsiders, for instance visiting the sick in the hospitals or rescuing earthquake victims, we don’t mind because we realize “how good we are”. But if we have to clean up the mess in our house after our sibling has dirtied the place, we feel that we are being abused. In our effort to be of service to people, it is good first of all, to look for opportunities in our own family to be of service.
As we honor St. Matthew today, let us keep in mind that we, too, resemble him who was unconditionally loved by Jesus and gained the strength to change his life and to follow Jesus all the way, even to martyrdom. Let us also do our best that our lives may be a response to
the love with which God has first loved us.