An Invitation to Follow Jesus

Matthew 9: 9-13
Eph 4: 1-7. 11-13/ Ps 19: 2-3. 4-5

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
(Mat.9:12)


It’s just our availability
That warrants God’s invitation;
“Follow Me”, His words come easily,
And there is 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.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

Reflection

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 “in the marketplace”? 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 “despedida 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.

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 that urges us to invite a prospective member into our fold.

We used to have an old member (now departed from this life) who would not have qualified as a businessman or professional, since he died a poor man. And yet Bro. Johnny had always believed that his mission in life was to win souls for Christ, and so had become our chapter’s topnotcher in inviting first-timers to our breakfast meetings, and sponsoring many of them to become regular members of the BCBP community. Having been called by Christ, his only desire was that others may also be called to Him. I am confident that Bro. Johnny is now reaping his eternal reward in heaven.

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 this renewed life of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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