Thoughts on the Calling of St. Matthew 

A lot of times, many non-Christians believe they can’t offer anything to God because of their status or sin they’re in. They feel the need to achieve a certain level of growth then come to faith in Jesus. I’ve encountered many people like this who have a similar form of this belief and no matter how much you try to convince them of God’s mercy it never works. Friends, if you believe this sort of statement, well I’m here to convince you that Christianity isn’t for those that have 100% of life figured out.

Jesus commands the opposite of this belief in Matthew 10:39 when he stated, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ” Obtaining riches, careers, pride, and identity of this world may actually cause us to neglect the call to follow Christ. Instead of being attached to the true vine of spiritual replenishment, the world takes control of us.

Interestingly, the New Testament offers little about the lives of Jesus Christ disciples that he selected. We know that many of his disciples were fishermen and at least one, St. Matthew, was a tax collector. The social and political story behind tax collectors in Roman-governed Israel is important about who Jesus called to follow him.

We know that the Jews despised Roman authority over Israel. The tax collectors abused their power by overcharging fees, cheating local citizens of there taxes, and aligned their allegiance to Rome. Consequently, the Jews waited for the messiah that would reinstate the political, religious, and military kingdom of the Old Testament to free themselves from the bondage of Rome.

This is what makes the calling of St. Matthew so important for us today. The Pharisees saw Jesus speaking with tax collectors which appalled the religious leaders of the day because he associated himself with people who oppressed Jews. The Pharisees were confused by Jesus’ actions so they asked his disciples why he ate with despicable people such as those. Jesus’ response to the Pharisees question was a welcoming affirmation to his mission on earth, “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Mat 9:13).”

It’s those that have no relationship with Jesus Christ that he invites to recline at the table of salvation. When speaking about the “table” Jesus stated, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Mat 8:11).” Jesus’ words show the universal calling of his Church. The invitation to fellowship in God’s love extends to everyone. Just as Jesus showed compassion and mercy to many gentiles, vulnerable citizens, and marginalized people, his desire is that everyone is in communion with the true love of God.

No matter the sins or worries that plague us, Christianity is all about allowing Jesus to make you a new creation from an internal transformation, not outward conformity through seemingly. Jesus can offer the Holy Spirit through Baptism to not only cleanse anyone from their sin but make you an adopted son or daughter of the Highest. It’s through this special relationship that we can obtain the inheritance of our faith that’s undefiled and imperishable (1 Pet 1:4).

Friends, we can follow the same path.St. Matthew took the invitation of Jesus and demonstrated that God’s grace extends to those that need him. Daily we can choose to follow Christ and abandon those things that are barriers to true charity.

Follow me on Twitter @Menny_Thoughts

Image: Caravaggio: The Calling of St Matthew

7 comments

  1. I don’t know how many times I have encountered people who don’t go to Church for the very reason you mention at the beginning of your post…they feel that they are too immersed in their sin to be religious. Sometimes these same people look at you and your religion and think to themselves that you are some kind of hypocrite…they know you and your’e a sinner just like them.. What makes you think you can call yourself a Christian? They don’t understand that it is God’s goodness…God’s mercy…. that changes everything… that cleanses us of our sin. And unfortunately they allow this distorted look at religion to destroy their bond with God… a bond He has created to share with each of us if only we let Him in. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many people feel isolated from God because they feel that what they bring tonthe table isn’t adequate enough. Moreover, they feel like they think God can never accept them. Thankfully, God has raised up great saints such as Matthew that give us a great example of mercy. You’re right when you say “they don’t understand that it is God’s goodness./God’s mercy.” That changes everything! Thanks for your amazing comment!

      Like

  2. Considering Saul’s later about-face, I don’t think being a marginalized outsider is a prerequisite for joining our Lord’s outfit. But it’s obviously not a problem, either.

    My guess is that, besides God’s inexplicable love for us, it may have something to do with the sort of self-awareness folks who aren’t quite “right” can develop. If we keep our eyes open, metaphorically speaking.

    Good thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul, what a person of interest. Talk about a complete act of God’s grace in someone’s life. I love the verses surrounding Paul’s conversion when Jesus says “Why are you persecuting me” such an amazing thought to hear Jesus utter the intimacy he shares with his Bride, the Church.

      Paul is a great example of how an authentic life changing moment with Jesus Christ can eventually produce the “crucified life” as he put it in Gal 2:20

      Liked by 1 person

    • I read your really thought provoking post on seances. In our culture today, especially with you our youth, it seems like Ouija boards are increasingly popular. Students at my school even play a Ouija like game with pencils and four quadrants on paper. Ouija isn’t a new phenomena, but do you have any thoughts on it ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ouija? Yes.

        I did a little checking – for a post that’s not finished yet. “Talking boards” have a long history.

        But today’s Oiuja Board started in the late 19th century – an American businessman cashed in on popular trends with an 1890 patent for the marker and board we have today.

        It’s been tweaked quite a few times then, keeping up with contemporary aesthetics – – – and is still a modestly-popular parlor game. As such, I see it as being about as much of a threat as bingo and playing card decks.

        The seance aspects are another matter.

        Folks who aren’t familiar with human psychology and five-dollar words like ideomotor phenomena might imagine that they’re really contacting spirits. That could leave them open to manipulation by humans with flexible ethics.

        I don’t know what the odds are that someone would connect with a spirit: but the benefit/risk ratio involved would keep me from testing the matter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for sharing your insight. The historical development of talking boards is fascinating.

        I’ve read post from ex-Satanists that are Christian use those boards to connect with evil spirits. The occult is very fascinating in a sense that people actually believe in the efficacy in their practices. About 30 years ago, there was a huge nationwide crime involving a Mexican Santeria leader who killed a Texas college student named Mark Killroy on Spring Break. Thought that case was shocking in regards to the occult.

        You sad “the benefit/risk ratio involved would keep me from testing the matter” I chuckled a bit 😂

        Thanks a lot

        Liked by 1 person

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