In Need of a Physician
Malvern Minute

 

September 21, 2017   Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

I did not come to call the just, but sinners, says the Lord. Alleluia!

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.”

 

Reflect: Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  Intertwined with the accounting of his vocation story, Matthew recalls these words of Jesus that contrast the words: “well” and “sick”; “not sacrifice” and “mercy”; as well as, “the righteous” and “sinners”.  Obviously, these words speak to Matthew’s heart. He is profoundly aware that he desperately needed the Divine Physician, that God showered him with mercy, and, undoubtedly, he was counted among the sinners.  Regardless, Jesus called him for a unique mission. Matthew’s quick response also indicates that his heart leaped as he encountered Christ; probably like something he had never experienced before.  The merciful Sacred Heart of Jesus drew Matthew near.  Jesus continues today to call out the names of people – the sick in faith, the sinners, and those who long for the love and mercy of God. Can we hear him or are we too well to listen?

Questions: Does my life bear any similarities to Matthew’s need for the healing mercy of Jesus? Can I imagine Jesus calling me to follow him? How might Jesus’ love and mercy be calling me to be a missionary disciple in the midst of today’s society?

Pray: Loving God, you call me although I am a sinner. Help me to believe that, like Saint Matthew, your Holy Spirit will lead me to do the right thing at the right time for the sake of building up your Kingdom. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Matthew: Pray for us!

Matthew, also known as Levi, was a Jew who converted from his sinful life when Christ called him at Capernaum. He wrote in Hebrew for the Jewish people and is credited with authoring the first Gospel. Tradition assigns Matthew the symbol of the winged man, one of the four mystical creatures from the Book of Revelation. He is believed to have died a martyr’s death in Ethiopia. He is the patron of accountants and custom officers.

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ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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