The Call of Matthew
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
In today’s Gospel Jesus calls Matthew who worked as a tax collector in Capernaum, a profession that labelled Matthew as a “sinner” and an outsider to the kingdom of God. He was despised and isolated by everyone around him. However, Jesus took the initiative and extended an invitation to Matthew, saying, “Follow me.” This command was unconditional, authoritative, urgent, and required a response. Matthew’s immediate and wholehearted response to Jesus’ invitation was revolutionary, as it went against the laws, traditions, and beliefs of the religious leaders of that time. To follow Jesus, Matthew had to break away from his livelihood. His past life as a sinner only intensified his need to become a disciple. With great joy, Matthew responded instantaneously. He did not earn or deserve to be called by Jesus, yet his life was completely transformed by the divine call.
Motivated by his own life-changing experience, Matthew desired to share the same opportunity with his fellow tax collector friends. So he invited them to join Him and Jesus for a meal. The Pharisees disapproved of Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners. However, Jesus came specifically for those who were sick and in need of His healing touch. Meaning those who understood their life condition requiring change.
Jesus has the freedom to call whomever He chooses. It is God’s prerogative. He doesn’t call those who are already qualified; instead, He qualifies those whom He calls. Jesus conveys to the people that He desires their hearts, not mere sacrifices. If Jesus is calling you today, how would you respond? Let us follow Matthew’s example and respond immediately. We are called not only to follow Jesus but also to imitate Him. Lord Jesus, grant us the grace to wholeheartedly say YES to Your call.