Daily Reflection – Sep 21, 2016
Wednesday 21 September 2016
First Reading: Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands
Psalm 118(119):1, 27, 30, 34-35, 44
Gospel Reading: Luke 8:19-21
Today’s Saint: St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
As 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.”
He got up and followed him. (Matthew 9:9)
What was going through Matthew’s head when Jesus passed by, noticed him, and said, “Follow me”?
As a tax collector, Matthew would have been held at arm’s length by his family and despised by his neighbors. His co-workers had a reputation for coming up with scams to line their own pockets, and Matthew might have done the same thing himself. So it’s not hard to imagine him leading a lonely life or trying to use money to make up for the lack of friendship.
But then Jesus arrives and offers his invitation, and Matthew follows. The next thing we hear, they are having a meal together—and with a host of other people just like him! Perhaps this is the key: Matthew felt love and acceptance in a way he hadn’t in a long time.
Jesus was compassionate. He saw who had been left out and rejected. He let them know that he wanted to be with them. It’s a simple but powerful message: “I want to know you. I’m happy to spend time with you. Let’s have dinner.” This affirmation can change lives—it certainly changed Matthew’s!
Think of all the people who were touched by Jesus’ genuine compassion. At least two were publicly known to have committed adultery: the woman at the well, who came at the hottest part of the day to avoid the gossip of the wives of the village; and the woman whom he saves from being stoned to death. Both were living with shame and rejection before Jesus approached them. The list goes on—Zacchaeus, the good thief, prostitutes, and lepers. Jesus never seemed anxious about his reputation. Instead, he looked people straight in the eye and loved them. He just accepted them.
Jesus is passing through the place where you’ll spend most of your day—your workplace, your home, wherever it is. He turns and notices you, and he smiles. He sees all your imperfections and sin, but he still wants to spend time with you. He doesn’t have one bit of embarrassment about being associated with you. No, he is eager to make you his friend!
“Lord, I am in awe of your love for me. Thank you for being my friend.”