An Invitation to Follow Jesus

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

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
(Mt. 9:13)

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.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

Reflection

In one of our prayer assemblies one Friday evening, our worship leader gave the theme, “Who do you say that I am?” (taken from Matthew 16:15). Most of us must be like the tax collector Matthew, when we feel God calling us to service. “Who do You say that I am, Lord?” What do You see in me that qualifies me to be in Your team? This kind of apprehension has always been the common reaction from the young and new members of our Brotherhood when they are appointed to positions of leadership. We explain to them that it is not their abilities or capabilities, but simply their availability and willingness to serve unselfishly that they are chosen to lead.

In the same manner, who are we to say who is a suitable prospect for membership in our community? Or even to be invited to 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? 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 Jesus saw something in this tax collector, and look what happened. After Jesus had called and converted Matthew into a new life of faith, he threw a “dispedida 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 power of Jesus’s words.

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 learned in our teaching tracks, it is in having a servant’s heart that predisposes us to enter the work of mission. 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. May all of us be brave and bold in inviting first-timers to our breakfast meetings. Having been called by Christ to our prayer community, and now enjoying the fellowship of like-minded children of God, our primary desire should be to bring God’s invitation to others, so that they may also be “called”.

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

Comments are closed.