Posted by: RAM | September 20, 2016

Monday (September 21): “I desire mercy – not sacrifice”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
96 Days Before Christmas
Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 643

First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Psalms 19:2-5:  Their message goes out through all the earth.
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“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.” Bottom of FormBottom of Form
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092116.cfm

Reflection:  What is God’s call on your life? Jesus chose Matthew to be his follower and friend, not because Matthew was religious or learned, popular or saintly. Matthew appeared to be none of those. He chose to live a life of wealth and ease. His profession was probably the most corrupted and despised by everyone because tax collectors made themselves wealthy by over-charging and threatening people if they did not hand over their money to them.

God searches our heart
What did Jesus see in Matthew that others did not see? When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the future heir to the throne of Israel, he bypassed all the first seven sons and chose the last! “God looks at the heart and not at the appearance of a man” he declared. David’s heart was like a compass looking for true north – it pointed to God. Matthew’s heart must have yearned for God, even though he dare not show his face in a synagogue – the Jewish house of prayer and the study of Torah – God’s law. When Jesus saw Matthew sitting at his tax office – no doubt counting his day’s profit – Jesus spoke only two words – “follow me”. Those two words changed Matthew from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle who would bring the treasures of God’s kingdom to the poor and needy.

John Chrysostom, the great 5th century church father, describes Matthew’s calling: “Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. for he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness.”

Jesus- the divine physician
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus’ unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to visit healthy people; instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life. The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed spiritual care. Their religion was selfish because they didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came  not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

On more than one occasion Jesus quoted the saying from the prophet Hosea: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Do you thank the Lord Jesus for the great mercy he has shown to you?  And do you show mercy to your neighbor as well?

“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself.” (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep21.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Matthew, Patron of Bankers
St. Matthew’s birth and death dates are unknown, but he is believed to have been born in Galilee and is the son of Alpheus.

Matthew was a tax collector and is therefore the patron saint of bankers. He was never officially beatified or canonized as he was recognized as a saint “pre-congregation.” Pre-congregation refers to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and it is the formal process of review by which saints are now recognized by the Church. The Church established St. Matthew’s feast day as September 21.

Matthew was collecting taxes in Capernaum when he was called to be an apostle of Christ. The Bible states that Jesus simply saw Matthew sitting in a tax collector’s booth and said, “Follow me.” That is all it took for Matthew to discard his previous life and follow Christ.

His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.

St. Matthew’s Gospel was written to fill a sorely-felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the Messianic Kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual, rather than in a carnal, way:

“My Kingdom is not of this world.” His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of St. John the Baptist, “Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the “Hebrew tongue” mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later.

Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.

Saint Matthew is often depicted with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7, which reads, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third living creature had a human face, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.”
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=84

More Saints of the Day
St. Alexander
Sts. Chastan & Imbert
St. Eusebius
St. Francis Jaccard
St. Gerulph
St. Hieu
St. Matthew
St. Maura Troyes
St. Meletius
St. Pamphilus
St. Thomas Dien

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

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