"What reason can the Teacher have for eating with tax collectors and those who disregard the law?" —Matthew 9:11
Imagine being a good Jewish disciple of Jesus and then being introduced by Jesus to your new fellow disciple, Matthew, the notorious, traitorous scum — the tax collector. You would feel like quitting as Jesus' disciple. Jesus has done strange things before, but this is going too far.
On another occasion, imagine meeting Jesus as He comes down the mountain, after praying throughout the night (see Lk 6:12). Jesus has an announcement. He plans to choose from His many disciples twelve apostles. These men will represent Jesus in a special way and have Jesus' authority. He will invest the rest of His life in these twelve apostles. Jesus lists the first seven apostles, and then He names Matthew. You can't believe your ears. You feel sick, enraged, resentful, confused.
Years later, you hear that Matthew and some others are maintaining that he has been called to compile a Gospel. How can God have chosen Matthew to write the opening book of the greatest revelation of all time, the New Testament? How can God have chosen Matthew to write the very Word of God?
The Lord's choice of Matthew is shocking. We can let it be shock therapy or a cause for alienation from the Lord. On the feast of St. Matthew, accept the Lord's shocking ways.
Prayer: Father, purify my heart from pride, unforgiveness, and resentments.
Promise: "Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message." —Ps 19:5
Praise: St. Matthew was a marginalized member of his culture until Jesus raised him up and gave him the vocation of apostle.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Being a Leader and Discipling Leaders on audio AV 60-3 or video V-60.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013
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