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Saturday, 9/21/2019, Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle

Follow Your Calling

First Reading Commentary: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

In today’s first reading, Paul tells us that we all have a calling and he urges us to follow that calling with humility, gentleness and patience. Paul tells us to put up with each other through love and he tells us to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

Christ did not only teach humility, gentleness and patience, He also lived a humble life, He was gentle and most definitely patient. We are being told by Paul to follow the teachings of Christ and to do our best to be like Christ because He is the bond of peace.

Moreover, Paul points out; once again, that each of us is a part of the Mystical Body when he says, “…one Body and one Spirit…who is over all and through all and in all.” The bond of peace is Christ in us and our being in Him. Because of this, we are called to one hope (the Kingdom of Heaven), one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God. These truths are not something we should simply believe—we should profess them by the way that we live and proclaim them wherever we go. Through baptism; that is our calling.

Paul says, “But grace was given to each of us according to our measure of Christ’s gift.” This means that each of us possess many gifts; more than we may realize or recognize. For this reason, sometimes we need to pray for the wisdom to recognize our gifts together with the strength and courage to use them for the glory of God.

Whenever faced with a decision and confused as to what to do, consider this: when there is no doubt in your mind or in your heart that what you are thinking of doing is the right thing to do; it is also what God wants you to do. If you do not have that feeling, keep praying for wisdom and direction.

As individuals, not all of our gifts are the same. Paul says that some are called into the clergy or religious life for, “…building up the Body of Christ…to mature to manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.” Paul does not specifically mention lay people here but what he says is for everyone because we all have gifts which God intends for us to use for His glory.

When Paul says, “…mature to manhood…” he is making reference to all of mankind attaining both physical and spiritual maturity. I see this as Paul telling us to respect life and to take care of ourselves and each other. When we do this, we mature to the extent of the full stature of Christ which means that we function as active members of the Mystical Body. Our human body has many parts, each with its own function. Likewise, each of us is part of the Mystical Body, each with its own function.

Mercy, Not Sacrifice

Gospel Commentary: Matthew 9:9-13

Mark and Luke both tell us that Matthew’s original name was Levi. Mark 2:13-14 and Luke 5:27 We do not know exactly how the name change came about. We also do not know exactly what Jesus said to Matthew other than, "Follow Me," but we do know that Matthew got up and followed Jesus in faith. As Paul told us in today’s first reading, we are called to say, "Yes" to God’s plan—but do we?

We have our own plans and ideas of what we want to do in life. I have heard it said that when we go to God with our plans; He just laughs. I like to say that we have our plans and then God says, “Watch this.” We think that we know what is best for us but we don't. Sometimes, we don't even have a clue. But God does know and if we put our faith in Him, we can submit to His plan. Remember, God's Will, not ours be done.

While Jesus was at the table, many tax collectors and sinners came to sit with Him. The Pharisees asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The Pharisees considered themselves to be above everyone else so they could not understand why Jesus spent time with tax collectors and sinners. They thought low of Jesus for doing so. Jesus told the Pharisees why He came and in so doing, Jesus was telling the Pharisees what they should be doing.

First, Jesus gave the Pharisees common logic by telling them that when someone is sick, they need a physician. I think that Jesus said this for our benefit and not just the Pharisees. I say this because Jesus knew that those with faith or at least open to faith would get the message but non-believers cannot get the message because they do not think with logic. They will argue that they do and accuse believers of not making since but I have yet to hear a logical explanation for not believing in God and following Him.

But then Jesus said something very profound by quoting Hosea 6:6. God desires mercy. God would rather forgive us and welcome us into His Kingdom. Anyone who chooses to follow Christ and be with Him and the Father is welcome. Jesus never turned anyone who had faith or was willing to listen to Him away. Jesus is all about healing and forgiving. That is why Jesus told the Pharisees that he came for sinners and for the Pharisees to learn the meaning of the words.

It is sad that the Pharisees did not realize that Jesus was giving them two messages. 1- Given their position in Jewish society and knowledge of Scripture, they should have been reaching out to people instead of being consumed by their self-righteous pride, thinking that they were better than everyone else. 2- Jesus came to save them too.

In God’s mercy, the Son came to save us and all we have to do is be like Matthew and all of the other Apostles and follow Him.

Reading 1          Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 19:2-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard; Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Alleluia - See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel          Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

Saint Matthew the Apostle
Patron Saint of: accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectors, Trier, Germany, archdiocese of Washington, DC, Asiago, Italy, Ortignano Raggiolo, Italy, Salerno, Italy, San Marco in Lamis, Italy, Villa d’Ogna, Italy & San Mateo, Ibiza, Spain

The Calling of Matthew

Jesus said, "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Are you among the sinners at this table? Don't be so quick to say no.

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