As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I have a print of Caravaggio’s painting “The Calling of St. Matthew” in my home. The painting depicts Jesus pointing at St. Matthew who has his head down as if he is thinking “you can’t really be calling me?” The onlookers in the painting have puzzled looks, as if they are thinking, “you really mean this guy?” and Peter is standing in front of Jesus as if he is ready to say “let’s get out of here.” The scribes and Pharisees must have been thinking the same thing in today’s Gospel, questioning why Jesus is spending time with those people (sinners and tax collectors).
Perhaps for our prayer today, we can close our eyes and imagine Jesus pointing to us and saying “Follow me.” Can we put our head in our hands and acknowledge that we are flawed (like Matthew) but still called by Jesus? Matthew looked up and permitted the gaze of Jesus to transform him. Can we also permit the mercy of Jesus’ to transform us?
—Mr. Dave Lawler is a Campus Minister at Creighton Prep.
Even if we dare not raise our eyes to the Lord, he always 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”.
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