FRIDAY, THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Gen 23:1-4,19; 24:1-8,62-67; Ps 106:1-5 ; Mt 9:9-13
INCLUSIVE AND COMPASSIONATE LIKE JESUS
One of the characteristics of Jesus was that he was inclusive and compassionate. He included everyone in his inner circle and showed extra compassion to all. Even the ‘tax collectors and sinners’ – excluded by the religious elite of his day – were welcomed by him. These people represented those whose professions and social status were considered ‘unrespectable’. Jesus showed that he came for all people, without exception, for the weak and vulnerable, the ‘sick’ and the ‘sinner’.
In today’s gospel, we have the episode of Jesus calling Matthew to follow him. Little is known about Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and was most likely born in Galilee. He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of Christ. According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and said, “Follow me.” With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.
The call of Matthew, who belonged to a class rejected by the religious elite, proves that Jesus is for all and shows compassion to all. This aspect of Jesus was scandalous to the scribes and Pharisees who thought that they knew God’s will and ways. Their illusion of exclusive sanctity was further shattered when they saw who was at the table dining with Jesus. The Lord’s mission was unequivocal: he, the divine physician, came to heal and save not the righteous, but those who were sick.
How inclusive and compassionate was Jesus in his ministry! Today we need to ask ourselves how inclusive and compassionate we are. Do we maintain a relationship or friendship with solely those who share our family or financial status, talents, standards, culture, colour or creed? Or do we genuinely open ourselves to embrace all? Let us ask the Lord to inspire and strengthen us that we may become more like him, inclusive, compassionate and large-hearted.
Response: O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
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