An Invitation to Follow Jesus

Matthew 9: 9-13
Eph 4:1-7,11-13 / Psa 19:2-5

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

It’s just our availability
That warrants God’s invitation;
When we hear Jesus’ words, “Follow Me”,
May there be no hesitation.

Jesus was walking one day when He saw a man called Matthew sitting at his customs booth. He said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew got up and followed Him. As they sat at dinner in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and joined Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus 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.”

Reflection

At first it seemed unlikely that a man like Matthew, a tax collector for the hated Romans, would be a good pick for membership in Jesus’ circle of apostles. But look what happened. After Jesus had called and converted Matthew into a new life of faith, he threw a “despidida party” (to bid his old life goodbye) and eagerly invited his friends from the customs house and other “sinners” – considered outcasts in the strict standards of the Jewish laws. We believe that during this social gathering in his house, a number of Matthew’s friends and associates were also moved to conversion by the divine power of the words of Jesus. Who is a suitable prospect for membership in our Brotherhood? Or just for fellowship in our Saturday breakfast meetings? Does he necessarily have to be a businessman or professional? What if he is neither, but has the skills and disposition to spread the Word of God?

One of the lessons in today’s Gospel passage seems to be a warning against pre-judging prospects for the work of evangelization, a mission to which we are all called by the Lord. As we have often heard in our teaching tracks, it is not our ability or capability that qualifies us to serve, but our availability. Matthew’s call demonstrated that our Lord’s choice of him was divinely inspired when he accepted the invitation of Jesus and followed Him. In fact this Gospel of Matthew, which has helped spread the kingdom of God and led millions of souls to Jesus clearly attests to the wisdom of that choice. All too often, it is the Holy Spirit Who initiates the invitation to a prospective member into our fold. Bro. Johnny has always believed this, and so has become the chapter’s topnotcher in inviting first-timers to our breakfast meetings. Having been called by Christ, his only desire is that others may also be called to Him.

Grant us dear Lord the grace to know whom You have chosen to be called to Your sheepfold, and the courage to invite them into the life of Your Gospel. Amen.

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