Thursday, September 21, 2017

"It's not a problem that we're sinners; it's a problem that we aren't ashamed of our sin and don't seek forgiveness."

…the Church is called on to pour its mercy over all those who recognize themselves as sinners, who assume responsibility for the evil they have committed, and who feel in need of forgiveness.  The Church does not exist to condemn people but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.  I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out…I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this ‘Church that goes forth’; it exists where there is combat, it is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities.  It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.  It’s a place for urgent care, not a place to see a specialist.”  - Pope Francis

Gospel Text: (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.”

What is your “calling”?  Is it the life you are currently living, or could it be something entirely different, something more, something perhaps even a little frightening?

As we reflect upon Saint Matthew, that haunting question certainly comes to mind.  He likely was very comfortable with his tax collection career, maybe even living up to the shady reputation that followed that profession. 

Do you suppose he felt like he was fulfilling his calling?

I suspect Matthew could never have imagined what he was about to accomplish that fateful day when Jesus passed by and offered him the “follow me” invitation.  Matthew simply got up, on the spot, and followed Jesus – a simple, courageous response.  Was Matthew an entirely unlikely candidate for a calling leading to becoming an apostle and powerful evangelist? Of course he was, yet as Jesus reminds us throughout His holy word today at Mass, “those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do” 

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