On Wednesday, September 21 we celebrated the Feast of St. Matthew. The events surrounding Matthew’s call, remind us how we should live; we are challenged to be understanding and compassionate. Matthew, because of his occupation, was considered a sinner. Tax-collectors were known as collaborators of the Roman oppressors and notorious as extortionists. And yet, Jesus called him. Contrary to worldly expectations, Jesus chose Matthew to be His apostle and said to him: “Follow me.”
Often those who do not fall within the acceptable standards of many may be set aside and at times gradually eased out for the satisfaction and security of some people. Spiritual communities are made up of various people. Some are holy and dedicated, while others are holier and more dedicated. There are those who are broken and sinful. Some may have the spirit of anger so people avoid them and leave them isolated. But because everyone is different from the next, God made each of us to complement one another. In that same light, each of us has a role to take within God’s church based on our gifts and talents. “And his gifts were that some be Apostles, some prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry.“
Jesus recognized the talents that were present in Matthew that others were not able to discern. Seeing Matthew in the role of tax collector, no one recognized his potential for service to the early church. But Jesus did.
The call of Matthew challenges us to realize that we could be missing the very people God has anointed to lead His community. We may have judged some people according to standards we may have personally set. We need to ask God in prayer for the grace to recognize talent and potential and for an openness that does not prejudge people.
Today let us remove oppression from our midst, false accusation and malicious speech. Likewise let us remove partiality and discrimination. Let us always be reminded of the words of Jesus: “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.”
Rev'd. Fr. Colin Humes