Monday 21st September 2020
St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Eph. 4:1-7,11-13; Ps. 18:2-3,4-5;
Mt. 9:9-13 (Ps Wk I)
If today, we were to draw up a list of criteria for Christian leadership and present them to Jesus, none of the apostles would have been chosen. Jesus simply went against the prevailing thought and valuation of His time (as well as ours). The most unexpected is chosen, not because they have proven themselves worthy, but precisely because it is entirely God’s prerogative in the matter. “I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners.” What better example of this than in the case of Matthew.
The call of Matthew, a tax collector, a collaborator of the hated Roman conquerors, a ‘sinner’ is an example of Jesus' gratuitous call of those ostensibly unworthy of discipleship. It is radical grace un-fleshed in the radical demand to follow. Therefore, Christian discipleship must never be seen as a privilege that is earned by our personal worthiness and capabilities. Rather, it is the result of a gratuitous call of God — a call made to both sinners and virtuous alike. And at the end of the day, can any of us ever claim to be wholly virtuous and righteous? The answer to this question must surely be in the negative.
Lord, we thank You for calling us to follow You on the Way, not because of any virtue, quality or personal achievement of ours, but precisely because of Your generous love.
Advent is the season in which the Church recommits itself to living a great adventure. We are a band of companions walking through a world of marvels and dangers to a promised goal, eternal life with God.