Homily for the tenth Sunday of the year
Year A - Mt. 9:9-13


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he rose and followed him.


"And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' But when he heard it, he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." (Hosea 6:6) For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.' "





Homily:


"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he rose and followed him."


Jesus is traveling across Galilee. He has performed more than a few miracles: everyone, or almost everyone, has heard of him (cf. Mk. 1:28) His fame precedes him: certain people think he is a sinner, for he does not observe the sabbath, and others consider him a prophet... In any case, it is in this atmosphere of controversy that Jesus notices a publican named Matthew: he tells him to follow him... And Matthew leaves everything behind to follow he who is wealth itself, the unique Good, the only Being capable of filling the hearts of men!


Jesus called Matthew to follow him! This was a great event in the life of Matthew, but also in the life of the entire Church. For Matthew is one of the four evangelists we periodically read in order to know, a little better each day, the Word of God as the Holy Spirit allowed it to be preserved by Matthew in writing. But, today, can the vocation of Matthew bring us something? Without any doubt!


First of all, does God call us into his service today? Or rather, do we, today, try to hear what God has to say to us? Do we listen to what the Spirit says to the Church in the year 2002? Are we attentive to the signs of God in our life? For it is in this way that God calls us, it is in these circumstances that we can be called by God to follow him!


Matthew heard speak of Jesus, he knew who the prophet of Nazareth was, he was ready to listen to all that the Master had to say to him... For the Word of God works first within the soul, it prepares the spirit of man through grace and it disposes it interiorly to welcoming the Word that will later on be addressed to it from outside, through some event... Like a drop of water that silently penetrates into a sponge, the grace of God shapes the spirit of man in order that it might be receptive to the Word of God at the opportune time...


"And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples."


We cannot say if it was the grace of God that led people of sinful lives to sit down with Jesus. And yet, Jesus' very aspect, his amiable air, full of grace and kindness, was enough to draw to him people of every category, good people and immoral people, good men and renegades, like the good thief who was crucified with Jesus on Calvary... For the grace of God can act in various ways, and, when the soul is not properly disposed, grace can make use of external signs to lead man to God...


"And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' But when he heard it, he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." (Hosea 6:6) For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.' "


"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." What a beautiful word for today's world! I have already said it, and I will say it again: why do we cry out: "Justice! Justice!" when we should be crying out: "Mercy! Mercy!" Why do we loudly invoke justice in the name of legislation that, in many countries, authorizes abortion, and soon euthanasia? Where are the just men? Where are the just nations? Where is this world that calls itself just?


Where is that time when the residents of the same town or of the same region walked in procession, notables and magistrates at their head, to implore God for his mercy? Where is the faith of our fathers who cried out: "Mercy!"... We must change! Our lives must change! For now is the hour of mercy, not justice... The Lord Jesus is there, waiting for us with his grace! The Lord Jesus, full of kindness and compassion, is there and he calls us to follow him, like Matthew!


Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us before her Divine Son, in order that the Holy Spirit might be given to us in abundance! May Jesus Eucharist transform our heart and make us true disciples of Christ, for the Glory of the Father, through Mary!




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