Scripture: Lectionary 381. Genesis 23:1-4,19. 24:1-8, 62-67. Psalm 106:1-2,3-4,4-5. Matthew 9:9-13:
We end the down to earth stories of Abraham in today’s first reading. Sarah dies at a very old age, Abraham buries her in a plot near Hebron, Isaac is blessed with Rebecca in marriage and Abraham will soon die. We do not have chapter 24 in the liturgical readings; instead we jump to the stories that feature the chosen son Isaac in tomorrow’s reading. All of these accounts are very familiar to us as life moves on. The Bible in many ways is a mirror of ourselves. We learn who we are in God’s loving concern for us and we travel on a path that is personally similar to many of the stories in the Bible. This helps us to realize how human and limited we are and even how short life is. No one is excluded from the odyssey God gives all of us.
We therefore sing out with the psalm, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 106). These verses are perfect for praying after we have read and meditated on the selection from Genesis 23.
We presently are listening and reading the Gospel of Matthew. We hear of his call from tax-collecting to walking with the Lord Jesus. Is it the same Matthew who writes this Gospel? We do not know for sure; some scholars affirm it is; others say no it is not the author of the Gospel of Matthew. In the other Synoptics Levi is the name given to the one called. Some men had two names so it is possible that Levi and Matthew are the same person.
We, on our part, can imitate the immediate and wholesome response of Matthew. He also shows the greatest virtue of the Old Testament—hospitality and invites Jesus and sinners to a dinner. Apparently, some observers of the Law were there, too. No one was excluded. Like Matthew we are sometimes called to leave aside some familiar things we love to do in order to follow Jesus more closely. Workers are assigned to different parts of the country by their companies; religious are asked to move to another community. All this is part of the call of discipleship. Jesus, reminds us, not to be discouraged when we fall short of our calling and when we sin. He has come for sinners not for the righteous. We have his words, “I have come to call not the self-righteous but sinners.”
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.