ST MATTHEW, AP & EVANGELIST (Feast) Red
First Reading: Eph 4:1-7. 11-13; Psalm: 19. R. v. 5a; Gospel: Mt 9:9-13
BEYOND OUR IMPERFECTIONS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
A woman brought her maid to me whom she accused of having the habit of stealing. She pleaded with me to advice and pray for her. While I sat with this poor teenage girl, she wept bitterly. She told me that whenever anything got missing in the house, fingers would be pointed at her. She assured me she wasn’t a thief and lamented how she always felt isolated in the house for nobody trusted her anymore. If there was something I learnt from her story, it was that when we form a single story about people, we can become blind to other possible truths about them. And in extreme cases, we may not even see that they have the prospect to change.
Matthew the tax collector was a publican because the taxes he collected was public money or fund. His people hated him for working for the Roman government. Worst still, tax collectors were hated by the people because they collected taxes more than required; only to remit the actual amount to the government while they kept the surplus for themselves. So Matthew was not only hated for his alliance with the Roman government whom the Jews detested, but also for his complicity in cheating his own people.
But apparently Matthew was not fulfilled with his job and how his people perceived him. He appeared to be stuck in the job and was scared to quit for fear of not being accepted back by his own people. If Matthew loved his job, he wouldn’t abandon it to follow Jesus. After all, Jesus did not coerce him to follow him. Obviously, Jesus who sees the depths of our hearts saw in Matthew a man stuck in dilemma and decided to rescue him by calling him to be his apostle.
This is the beautiful thing about God. God sees beyond our weaknesses. God is not so much concerned about who we are now but trusts in who we are capable of becoming. This is how we should see each other. A lot of people out there want to change for good but our judgmental attitudes have kept them at bay. We can be kind enough to understand that no human being is too bad beyond remedy. As far as God’s grace is concerned, nothing is impossible.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, grant us the grace to look beyond our imperfections to see what you are capable of making us become. Amen.
Egbuonu Johnpaul Okey