September 21, 2017

Matthew

September 21, 2017:  St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Listen
For Psalm 19
Pope Francis to antimafia commission
Corruption always finds a way to justify itself, presenting itself as normal, the solution for the shrewd to attain their goals, but it's contagious and parasitic, and it robs instead of nourishing.  Authentic politics work instead to ensure hope and human dignity.  It struggles against mafias because they steal the common good, taking away hope and dignity.  Fighting mafias isn't just repressing them; it's also reclaiming, transforming, and building, and that requires political commitment through greater social justice, and economic commitment through correction or removal of mechanisms that generate inequality and poverty.  Both presuppose building a new civil consciousness that can lead to liberation from mafias.
Read
  • Eph 4:1-7, 11-13  Live worthy of your call, with humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace, hope.  One Lord, faith, baptism, God, Father gave each of us grace to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, or pastors/teachers..., for ministry, unity, faith, knowledge of Son.
  • Ps 19:2-5  "Their message goes out through all the earth."  The heavens declare God's glory, handiwork.
  • Mt 9:9-13  Jesus to Matthew:  “Follow me.”  He followed.  Tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus.  Pharisees:  “Why?”  “The sick need a physician.  I came to call sinners.”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  What's your “call”?  Matthew was likely comfortable with his tax collection career; maybe he even thought he was fulfilling his calling.  Today's 1st reading challenges us to envision our call through an eternal perspective:  we're to live as Jesus did, with humility, gentleness, love, and patience.  Before his conversion, Paul was doing what he thought was best; while persecuting Christians he didn't consider himself outside God’s call.  Once God opened his eyes, Paul went on to do amazing things.  Sinners like us can also do amazing things once we're tuned in to our calling.  Matthew likely couldn't have imagined what he'd do once Jesus called him, but he followed him on the spot.  He, like Paul and us, was an unlikely candidate for apostle, but God uses the weak to accomplish amazing things.  How will I respond?
  • Passionist:  Matthew’s gospel was written with the Jewish community in mind.  He was likely used to being put down and taunted by his fellow Jews for his collaboration with the Romans, especially as a tax collector.  But he invites Jesus, His disciples, and even unsavory fellow tax collectors and people considered “sinners” to his house; Jesus probably admired his chutzpah.  Jesus found in him a follower who would stick with him.
Paul points out that we differ even in our talents and skills, as well as our calling.  Differences among children often lead to parents' pride and support, not unhealthy competition.  One who may seem to be an obstacle may eventually be a key contributor....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Mercy, not sacrifice":  Jesus' call of Matthew changed Matthew from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle."  Jesus came to each one at a time when he knew that they'd respond.  He called Matthew when he was assured he'd surrender.  Similarly, he called Paul when he was vulnerable, like a hunter going after his quarry, for he who knows our hearts and secrets knows when we're ready to respond.  At the beginning Matthew was hardened, so Jesus waited till his miracles and spreading fame to call him, knowing he'd been softened" (John Chrysostom, paraphrased)
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus' eating with sinners, Jesus said a doctor only needs to go to the sick; he sought out those in greatest need.  Jesus came as divine physician and good shepherd to care for and restore his people.  The orthodox, preoccupied with their religious practice, neglected the people who needed care.  Jesus said he came to call sinners.  Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised.  Jesus quoted "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."
Dress legend
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Live worthy of the 'call' you received (1st reading); I came to 'call' sinners (gospel)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Live with patience (1st reading)
  • 'Bear' tie bar:  'Bear' with one another through love (1st reading)
  • 'Dove' pin:  Preserve the unity of the Spirit... (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  ...through the bond of peace (1st reading)
  • '1' button from OneLife LA:  1 Body, 1 Spirit, 1 hope, 1 Lord, 1 faith, 1 baptism, 1 God (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "Their message goes out through all the earth" (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Jesus was at table in Matthew's house... (gospel)
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Sick people need a doctor (gospel)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" (gospel)
  • Red shirt:  Liturgical color for apostles' feasts