Today’s Gospel: Matthew 17:9A, 10-13
Today we hear about the call of Matthew to become a disciple of Christ. Matthew was a tax collector, and therefore a collaborator with the Roman government. For those reasons, he was not well liked by his fellow countrymen. But when Jesus calls, he answers immediately, rising up to leave everything behind.
And as though being a tax collector were not bad enough, Matthew also associated with other known sinners, inviting them to his home, where he is hosting Jesus and the other disciples. The Pharisees there saw this and wondered how any good teacher of the Law could associate with those who do not keep it. The righteous only keep company with the righteous, lest they become impure themselves. And to some extent, they are right. We are known by the company we keep. If we hang out with sinners we must be in danger of becoming one too.
While we must always guard ourselves against sin and impurity, our call is not to serve those who are already righteous but to serve those who need help. We must be out among those who are in trouble, ministering to them, helping them, perhaps even inspiring them to come back to Christ. To paraphrase Pope Francis, we must be the shepherds who smell like the sheep. If we wait for people to come to us, they may never come.
Which person in my life is God calling me to reach out to, to offer compassion and hope?
Jesus, You sought me when I was still lost. Help me to find others like myself and to bring them to You.
Copyright 2018 Carol Ann Chybowski
Carol Ann Chybowski is a long-time member of the Catholic Writers Guild. She has published book reviews at various websites and appears in two volumes of A Community of Voices: An Anthology of Santa Barbara, as well as in Spiritual Awakenings: Stories of Praise and Redemption, and Word by Word: Slowing Down With The Hail Mary.
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