Today’s Gospel, Matthew 9:9-13, is about the call of Matthew, the tax collector. It tells us so much about Christ’s compassionate heart!
Jesus, walking along the road with his disciples, comes to the stall on the side of the road where Matthew collects taxes for the Roman occupiers. Surely his eyes are on Jesus, and he is very aware of his own sinfulness and rejection by his own people. Then Jesus looks at him, not with rejection but acceptance, and says two words, “Follow me,” as he moves passed. Matthew leaps to his feet, his heart on fire, a free man at last because of that look, and he follows Jesus.
Lord, when I am tied down and enslaved by worldly desires for wealth, success or popularity, call me and set me free to follow You because You are the only way to the house of your Father and my Father.
Jesus says to those who criticize him for eating with tax collectors and sinners, “It is not the healthy who need the doctor but the sick. Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Lord, Help me to understand that I am a sinner, because it is the truth. Help me to rejoice in it because it means You come for the likes of me. Your heart is filled with compassion and love for me, frail clay pot that I am, and my love, in return, does not drive me to offer a sacrifice but to put all my trust in your merciful and loving heart.
Reflection: Margie Conroy, RSCJ, United States – Canada Province, currently living in Moroto, Uganda
Image: Photo by Charles Ngorok of actors Gabriel(right) and Brian(left) posing as the father and prodigal son. Brian is a third-year high school student and the son of Christine Napeyok, the co-director of Home Based Care, a centre serving people with HIV/AIDS and their families, located in Moroto, Uganda. Gabriel is the gardener for the Home Based Care centre. Charles serves as an educator at the centre to the children whose parents are HIV positive.