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Archive for September 27th, 2017


Luke 5:27-32Rise and Follow

Caravaggio: The Calling of Saint Matthew

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Favorite from September 21, 2009.

This is Luke’s version of the story we hear in today’s Gospel from Matthew 9:9-13, and in it we see the tax collector being called from a life of working with numbers to a life of working with souls.  At first glance, this seems like an unlikely move to make – a tax collector becomes a fisher of men’s souls.  At second glance, it is the kind of move which calls Matthew/Levi to newness, and it is the kind of move we are each called to make.

Saint Bede the Venerable (who died in 725) is cited in today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation: Jesus saw a man sitting in the tax-collector’s place, and he said to him, “Follow me”.  He saw him not so much by virtue of corporeal vision as by inner compassion . . . Jesus saw the man, and felt compassion for him because he was devoted only to human concerns and [Matthew] was not yet worthy of an angelic name . . . “And he rose and followed him”. We should not marvel that a publican, upon first hearing the Lord’s voice ordering him, left the earthly gains that he cared about.  Disregarding his property, he attached himself to the band of followers of one whom he perceived to have no riches.  For the Lord himself, who outwardly called him by a word, taught him inwardly by with an invisible impulse so that he followed him.  He poured into his mind the light of spiritual grace, by which he could understand that the one who was calling him from temporal things on earth was capable of giving him incorruptible treasures in heaven. 

When we are called but know that our ready response promises discomfort and a complete handing over of self to God’s mission for us, may we rise and follow him as eagerly as the apostle Matthew.  Some speculate that he is the brother of another apostle who Jesus had already chosen and so in this way would have had an introduction to Jesus and The Way he proposed.  This may or may not be the case but whether or not this apostle knew something of the Christ prior to the day of his call, we can learn something about his eager and immediate response to The Word which is this:  When we hear the call that Levi/Matthew heard, we will want to rise and follow as he did so that we too, might be worthy of an angelic name . . . and add to God’s incorruptible treasure in heaven.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.9 (2009). Print.  

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