Every family is a work in progress, but each one can move toward wholeness. Circumstances differ, but every family needs peace, love, and trust. Christian hope springs from belief in God's presence during life's high and low points. In the struggle for wholeness, families become holy and generate holiness in others. Holy families, not perfect families, are sources of hope to those facing dark and painful times.
—from the book Your [Imperfect] Holy Family
† QUOTE "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy." — St. Therese of Lisieux
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Prayer is greatly aided by fasting and watching and every kind of bodily chastisement. In this regard each of you must do what you can. Thus, the weaker will not hold back the stronger, and the stronger will not press the weaker. You owe your conscience to God. But to no one else do you owe anything more except that you love one another." — St. Augustine, p. 143 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
† VERSE OF THE DAY One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:28-31
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(c. 1st Century)
Matthew was a Jew who worked for the occupying Roman forces, collecting taxes from other Jews. The Romans were not scrupulous about what the "tax farmers" got for themselves. Hence the latter, known as "publicans," were generally hated as traitors by their fellow Jews. The Pharisees lumped them with "sinners" (see Matthew 9:11-13). So it was shocking to them to hear Jesus call such a man to be one of his intimate followers.
Matthew got Jesus in further trouble by having a sort of going-away party at his house. The Gospel tells us that many tax collectors and "those known as sinners" came to the dinner. The Pharisees were still more badly shocked. What business did the supposedly great teacher have associating with such immoral people? Jesus' answer was, "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" (Matthew 9:12b-13). Jesus is not setting aside ritual and worship; he is saying that loving others is even more important.
No other particular incidents about Matthew are found in the New Testament.
Reflection From such an unlikely situation, Jesus chose one of the foundations of the Church, a man others, judging from his job, thought was not holy enough for the position. But Matthew was honest enough to admit that he was one of the sinners Jesus came to call. He was open enough to recognize truth when he saw him. "And he got up and followed him" (Matthew 9:9b).
Saint Matthew is the Patron Saint of: Accountants Actors Bankers Bookkeepers Tax collectors Taxi Drivers
Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
Reading 1 Eph 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 Ps 19:2-3, 4-5 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 Mt 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."
Meditation: Matthew 9:9-13
Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. (Matthew 9:13)
Despised as a collaborator with the Romans, Matthew knew that his job as a tax collector was nothing to be proud of. Or at least he shouldn't have been proud to be a tax collector. His hard-earned wealth only brought him contempt and rejection from his own people. He probably endured snide remarks from his townspeople, and it's possible that he had begun to believe them. Whatever he thought, when he heard Jesus call him, Matthew did not hesitate. All his sinful ways, all the ways he had mistreated people, and all the unworthiness that must have accompanied such behavior dissipated. There was something special about Jesus, and Matthew was not about to let any obstacle—real or perceived—stand in his way.
It can be easy to buy into the lie that you are unworthy to answer Jesus' call. Don't believe it! Don't imagine that your sins or weaknesses have convinced Jesus to pass you by in favor of a more worthy candidate. Remember what he said to the people who objected to his calling of Matthew: "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners" (Matthew 9:13). We are all sinners, and still, Jesus calls all of us: "Follow me" (9:9). He wants you to be with him.
So don't let your sins and failings hinder your yes to the Lord. Quite the opposite—they are the perfect opportunity to show the world how merciful he is. Tradition tells us that Matthew went on to evangelize the very Jews he had once scandalized. The evidence of his change of heart must have made a deep impression on many of them.
Today, if you are feeling unworthy, remember Matthew. Remember God's kindness and mercy toward him. Remember the freedom and joy he felt when he left his old life behind and accepted Jesus' invitation. God has called you and chosen you because he loves you just as much as he loved Matthew. He wants to silence that voice of unworthiness. Whether Jesus is calling you to leave behind a pattern of sin, to grow closer to him in prayer, to serve your community in a new way, or some combination of all three, say yes. Jump at his invitation, and let him change your life.
"Jesus, thank you for the invitation to follow you. Help me to say yes to your call!"
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13 Psalm 19:2-5
my2cents: Saint Paul ends today with "...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. " In 1 Cor.13:11 "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [a]became a man, I did away with childish things." There is in the world many children of God, immature. They lack spiritual maturity. I don't know where I fall in this maturity group, but I do notice that there is a difference. Put away childish things. Put away the nonsense. Put away the bottle. The thoughts of children are not the same as adults. Yes, be innocent as children, but to lack spiritual maturity? There are not enough men, real men for Jesus, there needs to be more real women for Jesus. To the extent of maturing to be a real Christ, a real man. It is, a time to work. These are not times to relax and be served. The world lacks spiritual maturity. Grow up, mature to be little. The little that are often forgotten. I see mostly little old ladies in daily Mass. The kind that people ignore. The kind that most men would disregard as funny and useless. And at the same time, the kind that are only found with God. Can a young person be spiritually mature? Yes. When the love of God is above all, maturity begins to show.
Let us pray: "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. Their message goes out through all the earth." Light to light. Dark to dark.
In the Holy Gospel, our Lord says something that changes all outlook on salvation History:
"Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." For thousands of years, that's all they knew how to do, sacrifice. Sacrifice of themselves, but now, God wanted more. Maturity. Until now, sacrifice meant giving up external, and now, maturity, would be internalized. That's why I say, I'm not sure if I'm fully internalized. I have learned to sacrifice externally, giving money, time, and talent, all treasures. But the deepest and richest treasure, is a heart. So far, the heart has been torn. Torn between work, family, and church. We can agree, we spend most of our time at work, or school, and family...and church? So little, if any, right? Can one do the opposite, spend all time in church, then family, and then work? That's weird isn't it? But how do you think Heaven will be? Everyone doing their own thing? I desire mercy. Everywhere. Not sacrifice. Sacrifice is not the same as mercy. When God asked for animal or other sacrifice, it was geared to open the heart, make room for the Lord. Now, He wants mercy. His desire is mercy. I don't have mercy if I don't know mercy. The world lacks maturity and therefore lacks in giving mercy. Saint Paul grew up suddenly, something happened and he becomes mercy unlike Saul, who he was before mercy hit him. He matured and became little. He was a wretched sinner, and now had to evangelize to all those he hurt. Man that's weird. Awkward. How can you preach mercy to those you wanted to kill? Mercy must be internalized. Sacrifice becomes internalized. All of visions and sightings and messages since Jesus resurrected have been about heart, Sacred Heart, and mercy. It is the primary focus of our Lord and He wants all to partake of mercy, of His Sacred Heart.
Salvation History has changed. Sacrifice has changed. All that needs changing now is...you. I desire mercy. I desire you. I desire you to be mercy. I desire to be mercy through you. I desire for mercy to be the Way. I desire to be mercy.
When I was a child, I could not forgive others, not even adults that hurt me. As I grew up, I learned to forgive them...and now, am learning to love them. Mercy is internalizing. But I know, by the way I am, that mercy still lacks, therefore maturity still lacks. Signs are: loose mouth, despair, anxiety, and quite simply, losing focus. What is "loose mouth"? Lack of mercy. In any manner, gossip, way of talking, crude jokes and even lies! What is despair? To lose sight of faith and hope and charity. This produces anxiety. The solution? Mercy.
I desire mercy. I desire Jesus. I desire the mercy of Jesus. Today, mercy is knocking on your door. If you missed it, you can come. Come knocking at His door, and never stop. Confessional doors are not knocked often enough. The doors to His Sacred Heart asking for mercy are not pleaded enough.
Someone said they saw a loved one visit them from Heaven, and they said "my child, everything here is perfect". Our fight for perfection here is hard. But it is a fight worth fighting. Don't give up. I'm here to help you. God says "we can do it". Together.
For questions or comments contact Adrian@going4th.com. For more go to www.Going4th.com