One Minute Reflection – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” …Matthew 9:11b
REFLECTION – “Our Lord chose Matthew, the tax collector, to encourage his fellows to join Him. He looked on sinners, called them and brought them to sit beside Him. What a wonderful sight! Angels stand trembling while publicans, seated, rejoice. The angels are struck with awe before the Lord’s greatness while sinners eat and drink with Him. The scribes choke with hatred and indignation, the publicans rejoice because of His mercy. The heavens saw the sight and were filled with wonder; hell saw it and was maddened. Satan saw it and was enraged; death saw it and withered; the scribes saw it and were much troubled.
There was joy in heaven and happiness among the angels because the rebellious had been persuaded, the recalcitrant quieted and sinners reformed and because publicans had been made righteous. Just as our Lord did not turn away from the shamefulness of the cross in spite of the entreaties of His friends (Mt 16:22) so he did not refuse the company of publicans in spite of the taunts of His enemies. He despised mockery and scorned praise, thus accomplishing all that is for mankind’s good.”…St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel, or Diatessaron, 5, 17 (SC 121, p.115 rev.)
“He looked at Matthew calmly, peacefully. He looked at him with eyes of mercy; he looked at him as no one had ever looked at him before. And this look unlocked Matthew’s heart; it set him free, it healed him, it gave him hope, a new life, as it did to Zacchaeus, to Bartimaeus, to Mary Magdalene, to Peter, and to each of us. Even if we do not dare raise our eyes to the Lord, he looks at us first. This is our story, and it is like that of so many others. Each of us can say: “I, too, am a sinner, whom Jesus has looked upon”. I ask you, in your homes or in the Church, to be still for a moment and to recall with gratitude and happiness those situations, that moment, when the merciful gaze of God was felt in our lives.”…Pope Francis – 21 September 2015, The Feast of St Matthew
PRAYER – Lord, You showed Your great mercy to Matthew the tax-gatherer,by calling him to become Your Apostle,supported by his prayer and example, may we always answer Your call and live in close union with You. We make our prayer, in union with God our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. St Matthew, Apostle of Christ, pray for us, amen.