The Gospel Today
Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Primitivo Eublera, Jr.):
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.”
These are the most touching words of our Lord Jesus Christ in today’s Gospel reading. He called St. Matthew, a tax collector to follow Him. This invitation of Jesus toward a tax collector who in His time, people of the same profession were known to be sinners, was deeply criticized by the Pharisees. But our Lord silenced them by saying mercy is more important than sacrifice; He calls not the righteous but the sinners. Pharisees are known to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings on their altars and are known to be righteous people.
What we are right now is a gift from God. We cannot thank Him enough for his greatness to us. We owe Him much thanksgiving for His gift of life for us, our families, friends and other favors that we receive from Him. How do we respond to such an enormous generosity from God?
Certainly, like the Apostles, there are also people that are especially called to follow Him in the different vocations of life. Be it to the priesthood or religious life, single blessedness or married life, everyone is always invited to follow Jesus. His compassion and mercy bring us to the realization that despite our sinfulness, our Lord Jesus Christ will embrace us if we sincerely go back to Him.
Let this be our everyday call, to renew our lives in Christ, in constant union with Him in prayer and in service to our brothers and sisters.
Let us call on Our Lady, the Mother of Mercy to be always in our journey in getting closer to Her Son, who is the Lord and the Merciful God.