Yesterday was Good Shepherd Sunday. Thought it was appropriate to let everyone know that my two favorite Psalms are #23 and #91. I try to pray these as often as I can. I had a protestant preacher tell a group of business owners that if we pray these every single day and are still anxious and afraid, the we don’t understand (know) the God we are addressing.
That was over 20 years ago. I have never forgot this little sermon and so these Psalms became a regular part of my daily prayer time. Read them, yourself, again, soon. All the Psalms are wonderful, but these two will change your life.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9: 12-13
St. Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors were hated. They collected taxes for the Romans so many Jews considered them traitors. They made their living by whatever they collected over and above what Rome wanted, thereby making many Jews to consider them thieves. Pharisees were forbidden to marry into a family that had a tax collector member. And yet, Jesus says to Matthew, “Follow me.” (Mt. 9:0)
To follow Jesus took a big act of faith on Matthew’s part. He left money and a possible lucrative career to follow an itinerant preacher. Then, Matthew brought Jesus home for a meal with other tax collectors and sinners. And the Pharisees, duly scandalized, complained to the disciples.
Jesus’ response (quoted above) flew in the face of a doctrine of some of the Pharisees that stated that if all the Jews obeyed all the commandments of God for a half hour the Messiah would come. Here, Jesus was delaying the arrival of the Messiah by reaching out to sinners. That is one reason the Pharisees wouldn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah. He thought that His Presence was not a reward for good behavior but a remedy for the bad.
This episode also shows how mercy is meant to be spread around. Sinners invite other sinners to know Jesus.
Meditation: Read Matthew 9: 9-13. Consider that act of trust that Matthew was making.