Eph 4: 1–7.11–13 / Mt 9: 9–13
As Jesus passed on from there, 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.”
IN OTHER WORDS
A few years ago there was a strong movement in Europe and North America where Christians, young and old and from all denominations, could live together. Rules to live by were reduced to the minimum. The number in each group was somehow limited but workable. In one group of 10 was a girl Linda who was working as a secretary in an office. After being a regular member for a year, she simply disappeared and no one knew where she went; everyone was a bit disturbed. One evening the group huddled together to share about the problem. No one really knew why she left. After agreeing that they found Linda to be a good member of the community, they decided to do two things: 1) that they would all pray for her; and 2) if ever she would come back, no one should inquire about her disappearance. Instead they would greet her and tell her that they missed her. After two weeks Linda came back to the community ready to meet inquiring eyes and words of reprimand, but nothing of the sort happened. So, taken by surprise and struck by the kindness of the community members, she requested for a short meeting of the community. In the meeting she broke down, told everything that happened to her and asked for forgiveness as she thanked everyone. When she came back, she said she was surprised that no one was angry at her. She was doubting if they were concerned about her disappearance and why no one asked questions when she came back. She felt their kindness and concern for her. The feeling of being welcomed back revealed how good it was to be in a community like hers.
In the gospel today we heard the Pharisees complaining about Jesus who was eating and drinking with tax collectors. The newly converted Matthew must have felt uneasy with the remark which was actually an insult to his chief guest, Jesus. When Jesus answered the accusation saying,“I want mercy, not sacrifice,” Matthew must have been relieved. It is always the case that when we hear the words of Jesus, we feel delivered from evil. Like St. Matthew, let us follow where Jesus leads us and find our home in him.
- Carlos Lariosa, SVD (Radio Veritas Asia, QC)
The Word in other words 2015
An annual project of Logos Publications, The WORD in Other Words Bible Diary contains daily scripture readings and reflections written by priest, brothers, and sisters of the three congregations founded by St. Arnold Janssen (the SVD, SSpS, and SSpSAP). It hopes to serve as a daily companion to readers who continually seek the correlation of the Word of God and human experience.