“Follow Me” ~ Jesus
On a day when the Catholic Church pauses to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Matthew, tax collector turned follower turned evangelist turned gospel writer turned martyr turned saint, the readings chosen (Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13 & Matthew 9:9-13) naturally focus on the arduous but rewarding path to true discipleship.
On the surface, it would appear as though Matthew was a man who had it all. Certainly by the secular standards of his time he did. As a tax collector, he was undoubtedly wealthy by virtue of the fact that tax collectors of that era were essentially glorified extortionists. They had awful reputations which were well earned and well deserved. By today’s standards, he was raking in CEO or movie star money, Yet those two words uttered by Jesus compelled him to leave it all. . . . “Follow me.”
The truth is written on our hearts.
Jesus of course knew that the Pharisees would begin to immediately gossip upon spotting him with Matthew, which prompted this reply:
“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.” Fact is, had Jesus waited to find a non-sinner to dine with, as the Pharisees apparently expected him to, he would‘ve starved to death, unless of course his Blessed Mother happened to be free for lunch.
Matthew refused to allow his sins and shortcomings hinder his calling to serve the Lord and ultimately, to die for him. Feelings of unworthiness are merely the devil lying to us, forever trying to keep us from fulfilling our true destiny; to love and serve the Lord while getting to know him now so we can be with him for eternity. To bring others to him by way of humble but confident evangelization.
Never turn down an invitation to grow closer to God in prayer, even if it means walking away from the TV or the Internet ~ especially if it means walking away from the TV or the Internet ~ or to serve your community in some new and unique way. By relishing these challenges and taking them head on, you are in turn affording God the opportunity to change your life.
Saint Matthew, Evangelist & Apostle, pray for us.
For more on Saint Matthew and his seminal encounter with the Man who would change his life, I invite you to revisit the following Reflection: