Today our Church celebrates the Feast Day of St. Matthew – Apostle and Evangelist. There are two things that are distinctive about St. Matthew. He was a tax collector; one considered an outcast by the religious authorities of the time. And secondly, along with St. Luke, his gospel gives us an infancy narrative – the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. It is from Matthew’s Gospel that we get the stories of The Magi, The Flight into Egypt and the murder of The Holy Innocents.
The Gospel selection for today focuses on Jesus’ call of Matthew to follow Him and Jesus dining at Matthew’s house. Apparently there were some other guests at Matthew’s table namely tax collector’s and sinners. Not surprising really, after all Matthew was a tax collector. The religious authorities questioned Jesus about Him eating with sinners. Jesus tells them that healthy people do not need a physician but sick people so.
The scene in Matthew’s house has a always fascinated me, particularly Jesus telling the religious people about the sick needing a physician. Even as a youngster, I loved this Gospel. Not only does it have the story of Jesus’ birth it also has the scene with which we are presented today and I have always loved it. Most likely because I knew in my heart that I needed a physician – Doctor Jesus!! I was and still am excited about that. And I couldn’t begin to count the times the Doctor came through. And today’s reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is a sort of confirmation of Jesus ‘practice’ as The Divine Physician.
No one is left out in the cold. I believe it is important to remember this especially when there are factions in our world that feel some people, like migrants and refugees, should be left out in the cold. Or the factions who do not care about the planet and encourage the misuse of our natural resources, destroying God’s creation without any regard for those who will follow us. And the ‘mighty buck’ is often behind their decisions to ‘use’ our planet.
And so, let us pray today and every day for the graces we need to EMBRACE other people and to not DEFACE our environment.
….Brother Gus Parlavechio, C.P.