Matthew the Tax Collector (Mt 9:9-13)
Come, Holy Spirit. Let me respond quickly to Jesus’ call.
Picture Jesus at table in Matthew’s house.
This text has two parts. First, Matthew responds to Jesus’ call and then he invites Jesus to his house. Since Matthew is a sinner (collecting taxes for Romans) his friends are also “sinners,” so the dinner becomes a controversy story which shows us that Jesus came to call sinners, not the righteous.
Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s post. He said to him, “Follow me.” He got up and followed him.
Later, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and those known as sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and those who disobey the law?” Jesus heard them and said, “People who are well do not need the doctor. Sick people do. Learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ I have come to call sinners, not the self-righteous.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- Matthew never searched for Jesus. He went to work one day and Jesus found him.
- What a special day! Matthew began as a tax collector (working for the Roman Empire). He ends the day as Jesus’ disciple (working for the Kingdom).
- Everything happened so quickly. Jesus saw him and invited him. Matthew left his post and followed.
- If he had hesitated or doubted, he would have missed his call.
- He accepts Jesus completely, opening his home and inviting the other sinners.
- The Pharisees try to exclude Matthew and his friends from the Kingdom. Jesus would have none of that.
- Jesus proclaims that they are the very ones he is calling.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- Jesus, today is so important! You will come. You will pass by. You will say, “Follow me.”
- Do not let me say “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” (like St. Augustine).
- When you call, I will follow.
- Come for me! I am a sinner and your Father sent you to sinners.
- Why do I wait? Why do I continue to sit at my tax collector’s post? Why am I afraid? Why do I not “get up and follow you?”
- As I hear your voice in the quiet of this prayer, I respond, “Wait, Jesus, I am coming.”
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ I will be vigilant today.
+ I will open my whole house to Jesus.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
Seeing Matthew at his post, Jesus said, “Follow me.”