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Gospel for Saturday

September 21, 2019

Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist – Feast

 
 
I desire mercy – not sacrifice
 
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
 
Saint 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.”

 
 
Introductory Prayer:
 

You are true goodness and life, Lord. Closeness to you brings peace and joy. You deserve all of my trust and my love. Thank you for the gift of life, my family and above all of my faith. I’m grateful too, for the gift of the Church which you founded on the Apostles.

 
 
Meditation:
 

 What is God’s call on your life? Jesus chose Matthew to be his follower and friend, not because Matthew was religious or learned, popular or saintly. Matthew appeared to be none of those. He chose to live a life of wealth and ease. His profession was probably the most corrupted and despised by everyone because tax collectors made themselves wealthy by over-charging and threatening people if they did not hand over their money to them.

 


What did Jesus see in Matthew that others did not see? When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the future heir to the throne of Israel, he bypassed all the first seven sons and chose the last! “God looks at the heart and not at the appearance of a man” he declared (1 Samuel 16:7-13). David’s heart was like a compass looking for true north – it pointed to God. Matthew’s heart must have yearned for God, even though he dare not show his face in a synagogue – the Jewish house of prayer and the study of Torah – God’s law. When Jesus saw Matthew sitting at his tax office – no doubt counting his day’s profit – Jesus spoke only two words – “follow me”. Those two words changed Matthew from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle who would bring the treasures of God’s kingdom to the poor and needy.
John Chrysostom, the great 5th century church father, describes Matthew’s calling:
 

“Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. For he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness.”

 


When the Pharisees challenged Jesus’ unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to visit healthy people; instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life. The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed spiritual care. Their religion was selfish because they didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came  not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
On more than one occasion Jesus quoted the saying from the prophet Hosea: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Do you thank the Lord Jesus for the great mercy he has shown to you? And do you show mercy to your neighbor as well?
 
Petition:
 

Lord, help me to be simple and straightforward in my faith.

 

  1. Simplicity Is Bliss: The tax collectors were considered traitors of the Jewish people since they were working for the Romans, the “oppressors” of God’s chosen people. The ordinary Jew would not even converse with one such as this. But Jesus says to him, “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him immediately, no questions asked, no conditions. What beautiful simplicity! He didn’t know that Christ was going to make him one of the Twelve. In a certain sense, we might say that he signed a blank check and gave it to Jesus. Matthew doesn’t sit down to calculate, he only accepts. He then goes a step further: He invites Jesus to his house for dinner. A Jew generally invited only his true and closest friends and relatives to dinner. It was a sign of intimacy, friendship and love. Matthew goes overboard and lays out the red carpet for Christ in his life.

 

  1. Complicated Calculations: In contrast to Matthew’s straightforwardness, we see the Pharisees’ “righteousness.” Jesus’ dining with a sinner like Matthew is a scandal for them. They really have to confront this Rabbi about his “shameful conduct.” The problem is that they haven’t understood the first thing about the Messiah. Their very point of departure is flawed. They are looking at Christ (and God) from a very rational perspective when the only valid outlook is faith and love. This happens frequently in our lives as we begin to judge events, circumstances and others without faith and charity. Before we realize it, we may have rejected and possibly even defamed our neighbor, a civil authority, or a priest or bishop. We are not looking at things from a supernatural vantage point but rather from our merely human standards.

 

  1. Back to the Basics: Christ puts everything back into perspective. “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.” Once again Jesus invites us to elevate our thoughts to a supernatural plain. Why did God become man? We repeat it frequently, at least every Sunday in the Creed: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven.…” It is important to examine the degree to which I see and judge everything in my life through the prism of faith. A true believer, a real apostle, must form this “sixth sense” in all of his daily dealings. We form this habit through prayer, our frequent and intimate contact with God. We need to ask God for the gift of faith, which gives us a new perspective on life.
 
 
Conversation with Christ:
 

Lord Jesus, I want to be a simple person, one who accepts you and your demands without calculations and complications. Free me from all impediments and grant me your grace so that I might become a convinced, faithful and intrepid apostle of your kingdom, as was St Matthew.

 
 
Resolution:
 

In prayerful dialogue with God, I will examine at least three moments or events of my day. (This I can do even at home, in the car or waiting in line, etc.)

 
 
Prayer:
 

“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself.”

 
 

Evangelio del sábado

21 de septiembre, 2019

San Mateo, apóstol y evangelista – Fiesta

 
 
Misericordia quiero, y no sacrificio
 
Del Santo Evangelio según
 
San Mateo 9,9-13
 

Jesús, al pasar, vio a un hombre llamado Mateo, que estaba sentado a la mesa de recaudación de impuestos, y le dijo: “Sígueme”. Él se levantó y lo siguió.
Mientras Jesús estaba comiendo en la casa, acudieron muchos publicanos y pecadores, y se sentaron a comer con él y sus discípulos.
Al ver esto, los fariseos dijeron a los discípulos: “¿Por qué su Maestro come con publicanos y pecadores?”.
Jesús, que había oído, respondió: “No son los sanos los que tienen necesidad del médico, sino los enfermos.
Vayan y aprendan qué significa: Yo quiero misericordia y no sacrificios. Porque yo no he venido a llamar a los justos, sino a los pecadores”.

Palabra del Señor.

 
 
Oración preparatoria

Señor, yo también quiero dejar todo para estar sólo contigo en esta oración. Concédeme desprenderme de todas mis preocupaciones para poder escuchar y ser dócil a las inspiraciones de tu Santo Espíritu.

Petición

Señor, cúrame de todo aquello que me aleje de cumplir tu voluntad.

Meditación del Papa

Jesús acoge en el grupo de sus íntimos a un hombre que, según la concepción de Israel en aquel tiempo, era considerado un pecador público. En efecto, Mateo no sólo manejaba dinero considerado impuro por provenir de gente ajena al pueblo de Dios, sino que además colaboraba con una autoridad extranjera, odiosamente ávida, cuyos tributos podían ser establecidos arbitrariamente. Por estos motivos, todos los Evangelios hablan en más de una ocasión de “publicanos y pecadores”, de “publicanos y prostitutas”. Además, ven en los publicanos un ejemplo de avaricia: sólo aman a los que les aman y mencionan a uno de ellos, Zaqueo, como “jefe de publicanos, y rico”, mientras que la opinión popular los tenía por “hombres ladrones, injustos, adúlteros”. Ante estas referencias, salta a la vista un dato: Jesús no excluye a nadie de su amistad. Es más, precisamente mientras se encuentra sentado a la mesa en la casa de Mateo-Leví, respondiendo a los que se escandalizaban porque frecuentaba compañías poco recomendables, pronuncia la importante declaración: “No necesitan médico los sanos sino los enfermos; no he venido a llamar a justos, sino a pecadores”. Jesús lo indica con el dedo. [Mateo] Se aferraba al dinero. Y Jesús lo escoge. Invita a toda la banda a almorzar, a los traidores, los cobradores de impuestos. Al ver esto, los fariseos que se creían justos, que juzgaban a todos y decían: “Pero ¿por qué vuestro Maestro tiene esa compañía?”. Jesús dice: “No he venido a llamar a justos, sino a pecadores”. Esto me consuela mucho, porque creo que Jesús ha venido por mí. Porque todos somos pecadores. Todos. Todos tenemos esta “licenciatura”, somos licenciados. Cada uno sabe cuál es su pecado, su debilidad más fuerte.  (S.S. Francisco).

Reflexión

Dios respeta en su integridad al hombre, y cuando llama a un alma a su servicio, en su solemne poder, ni la violenta, ni la atosiga, sino que con paciencia y amor la deja casi andar a la deriva o al vaivén de las circunstancias. No es fácil, por tanto, dar una respuesta como la de Mateo: pronta, sincera, total.

San Mateo era un cobrador de impuestos, un pecador ante los ojos de todo el pueblo. Sólo Jesús fue capaz de ver más allá de sus pecados y vio a un hombre. Un hombre que podía hacer mucho por el Reino de los Cielos. Y le llamó con todo el amor y misericordia de su corazón para ser uno de sus apóstoles, de sus íntimos.

Todos hemos recibido la vocación a la vida cristiana. Dios nos ha creado para prestarle un servicio concreto, cada uno de nosotros. Tenemos una misión, como eslabones de una cadena. Decía el Cardenal Newman: “No me ha creado para nada. Haré bien el trabajo, seré un ángel de la paz, un predicador de la verdad en mi propio lugar si obedezco sus mandamientos. Por tanto confiaré en él quienquiera que yo sea, dondequiera que esté. Nunca me pueden desechar. Si estoy enfermo, mi enfermedad puede servirle. En la duda, mi duda puede servirle. Si estoy apenado, mi pena puede servirle. Él no hace nada en vano. ¡Él sabe lo que hace!”

Propósito

Buscar un acercamiento o tener un acto de caridad con esa persona que «me cuesta» aceptar.

Diálogo con Cristo

Señor, gracias por invitarme a seguirte, a ser tu discípulo y misionero. Ardientemente deseo tener la fe y el amor suficiente para responder con prontitud a tu llamado. Quiero salir de esta oración con la sabiduría, la fuerza y la alegría, que logre contagiar de tu amor a los demás. Siguiendo el ejemplo de María, y por su intercesión, te pido que sea fermento y canal para comunicar tu amor en mi familia, en mi profesión, en el círculo de mis amigos.
 
 
Despedida

Te damos gracias, Señor, por todos tus beneficios, a Ti que vives y reinas por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén.
¡Cristo, Rey nuestro!
¡Venga tu Reino!
Virgen prudentísima, María, Madre de la Iglesia.
Ruega por nosotros.
En el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.
Amén.