Gospel of Matthew 9: 9-13 Reflection:
St Matthew has the honour of writing in his own gospel the record of his call. Jesus is walking past and Matthew is sitting at his desk collecting the taxes.
Jesus says to Matthew, ‘Follow me,’ and he got up and followed him.
I often wonder if this is what really happened. Some writers say that Matthew mush have heard about Jesus and had formed the opinion that he was a great prophet at least and that something in Jesus’ teaching that Matthew had heard must have caused conversion of heart.
Maria Valtorta in her writings on the life of Christ says that Matthew was already a secret follower of Jesus and that he sent money to Jesus to help with his work. We will never know for sure.
Caravaggio has a great painting ‘the call of St Matthew’ in which Jesus is seen standing in the light and Matthew and his friends are seated in the dark end of the room. The light flows in over Jesus’ head and shines directly on Matthew.
Matthew is seen holding his money, perhaps he is still at this moment unwilling to let it go. One of the men at the table is pointing at Matthew as if Jesus has asked for him by name.
We can all ask ourselves what is our reply when Jesus calls us by name and what is it that we are holding on to and won’t let go off.
Did Jesus call Matthew in an instant and did Matthew drop all and follow him?
Why not: Jesus had a mission for Matthew and Matthew responded by saying ‘yes.’ Jesus was and is no ordinary man, there have always in every age been people prepared to drop all, even their comfortable middle aged, middle class life, to do what Jesus wants them to do today.
But we have to be willing to do the simple things that Jesus calls us to do...love the neighbour, our enemy and those who hurt us.....