As a tax collector, Matthew may be an epitome of the sinner. Tax collectors are most hated by the Jews since they collaborate with the foreign Roman power and make money at the expense of their countrymen. But Jesus “sees” in Matthew someone who will become a disciple, apostle, and evangelist. Even sinners can become saints. The personal invitation, “Follow me,” is also given to the Jews to follow the person of Jesus (not just the Mosaic Law), and the same invitation is made to all mankind to “get up and follow him” to become the new people of God—formed by God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness of sins. The mission of Jesus is to call all people (all sinners) to belong to his Kingdom. He starts with Matthew.
Gospel • MATTHEW 9:9-13
Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.