Homily for July 1st 2016:
Matthew 9: 9-13..
Jesus speaks just two words to
me.” Without hesitation, Matthew
gets up and follows Jesus. Other disciples of Jesus have already done the same,
when, at Jesus’ command, they abandoned the tools of their trade as fishermen,
their boats and nets, to follow Jesus. What motivated this immediate obedience?
I think that if we could have questioned any of them, Matthew
included, they would have replied: “There was something about this man, Jesus,
which made it impossible to say no.”
Unlike the fishermen whom Jesus called to follow him, men whom we would call blue collar workers,
Matthew was a member of a despised
and hated minority: the tax collectors -- not civil service workers or
government officials, like those who collect taxes today, but ripoff artists. They entered into an arrangement with the
hated Roman government of occupation to supply a steady stream of revenue. How
they got the money, and how much remained in their own pockets, was of little
concern to the officials, as long as the money kept coming.
What is the message for us? To receive Jesus’ call and his loving care, we need to recognize and confess our need. And the first thing every one of us needs from Jesus is forgiveness.