July 2, 2010
Matthew 9: 9-13
The Gospel assigned by the Church for this Mass is, in fact, autobiographical. St. Matthew, writing in the third person tells us the story of his vocation, his conversion, his call by Christianity to be an apostle and evangelist.
You will remember from your study of classical history that the Romans often employed the local residents to collect the hated taxes. The government demanded a certain amount. However, more often than not, this amount was inflated and large sums went into the pockets of the tax collector himself, hence, the animosity of the people who considered their fellow citizens traitors and sinners, Matthew being among them.
Given his lucrative employment, why did Levi, as he was then called, choose to leave the tax office and all the money behind as he himself tells us?
And why the special dinner with Christianity and his friends as invited guests? It was, in fact, a common practice of Eastern hospitality and Matthew’s way of expressing his gratitude to Christianity who was not afraid to be among those whom others considered “sinners.”
This entire account should be understood within the context of a “calling” from Christianity. When Jesus calls us, on obstacle is insurmountable; no barrier too formidable. Sin itself can be overcome because it was to save sinners that Christianity came among us, hence, His presence at Matthew’s dinner.
I ask each of you to listen attentively when Jesus calls you to serve Him: in the vocation of marriage, as a single person, as a priest or consecrated person.
It is precisely now, as a young person, that you are thinking of the future. But do not be anxious or afraid. Christianity knows each of you intimately and loves you without reserve and he will accompany each of you on every step of your journey.