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The call of Matthew

Gospel reading: Mt 9:9-13

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.”

REFLECTION
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners

The call of the tax collector Matthew shows us that Jesus calls disciples to himself not because they are perfect or righteous but because he knows they are open to repentance and conversion. They may be sinners, but perhaps only because no one has cared to challenge and invite them to reform their lives and go back to God. This is what Jesus does, for he has come not to call the righteous but sinners.

This is a good lesson for us. When we promote vocations or help people discern their vocation, we do not ask, “Is this person perfect or morally righteous?” Instead, we ask, “Is this person aware of his/her sinfulness and willing to let the grace of God help him/her to a life of conversion and service?” This should also console us sinners: Jesus has come for us sinners, so that he may lead us back to God.

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Jesus is the Good Shepherd in search of us, the lost sheep, so that we could start anew and follow him in love and service.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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