Tuesday – Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle

Gospel – Matthew 9:9-13

Hospitality Part 2

Chapel of Tears, Jerusalem

We are edging closer to one of my favorite holidays.  And  NO, I don’t mean Christmas!  I am referring to Thanksgiving!  And that means it won’t be long before we start hearing heart-warming stories about someone organizing a massive food drive, or a family giving up their Thanksgiving meal to serve other, and those wonderful stories of a family opening up their home to a needy person or a member of the military who have no way to celebrate with their own family.

Now that is real hospitality, not the shallow version we heard about a few days ago when a Pharisee invited Jesus to his home.  And that is the hospitality we see in today’s Gospel.  This time Jesus basically invites Himself to dinner.  Yes, Matthew was a Jew but he was also a tax collector.  That meant he took money from his own people and handed it over to the enemy- the Romans.  And he probably kept some of the money for himself.  He was considered a traitor by his fellow Jews; he would have been despised and shunned.

Consider what a ragtag group of misfits are at this dinner – Jesus, Matthew, other tax collectors, sinners and the disciples. Yes even the disciples – a group of farmers, fishermen, illiterates, one who will betray Him, one who will deny Him 3 times, one who will doubt His Resurrection, and 2 who are so concerned with their status in the group that their mom insists they get special seating in the Kingdom.  It makes you wonder what sort of vetting process there was to become a disciple!

But they all do have one thing in common – they are all sinners and they are all in need of mercy and forgiveness.  So say we all!  We are all sinners; we have all fallen time and time again.  And every time Jesus offers us mercy and forgiveness.  Every time we falter He offers us a chance to return to the table of the Lord.  His love is endless and so is His mercy.

Great Spirit, help me today to remove my doubts, especially my doubts about myself.  Help me to see the path to You and give me the strength and the faith to follow it.


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