The God of second chances...
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. Matthew (September 21, 2019): EPH 4:1-7,11-13; PS 19:2-3,4-5; MT 9:9-13
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were constantly infuriated by the way He associated with those they looked down as unclean and sinful.
As we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew, we meet one of these most despised people – a tax collector. Not only did Christ select someone who worked for the Roman enemy and steal from his neighbors to be His disciple, but He also went to his house to dine with him and others considered outsiders. “The Pharisees saw this and said to His disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinner?’ He heard this and said, ‘Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.’” (Matthew 9:11-12)
Matthew was a Jew, but hardly a faithful one if he consorted with Romans and cheated fellow Jews. Jesus knew exactly who and what this man was. But He also knew what he could become. And despite his many failings, Matthew, like all the other Apostles except Judas, ultimately lived up to Christ’s expectations. He followed our Lord during His public ministry and went on to preach the Good News, probably in Ethiopia or Persia. In time, St. Matthew became a martyr for the sake of His beloved Lord who offered Him a second chance.
Suggested missionary action: Let us examine our own attitudes toward those we may look down upon. We can ask St. Matthew to help us appreciate second chances for others and for ourselves – and to pray for us all.