Today is the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle.
Matthew was a tax collector.
Jewish people disliked tax collectors because they often cheated people and were in the pay of the hated Romans.
Jesus called Matthew to be one of the twelve Apostles.
The Pharisees called them ‘sinners’ and were scandalised that Jesus would call such a man to be one of His close followers.
Matthew got Jesus into trouble again by having a sort of going-away party at his home.
In the Gospel we are told that many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came to dinner.
The Pharisees were even more shocked!
How could this supposedly great teacher be associating with such ‘bad’ and ‘immoral’ people!
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words. I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners”. (Matt 9:12b-13)
He is saying that loving others is more important than ritual service, even though that was also important.
Matthew responded to the call of Jesus, got up, and followed Him.
He allowed Jesus to save him, to let go of what was not life-giving in his life.
The Gospel is full of people who changed their life because of an encounter with Jesus.
It would have cost Matthew a lot in terms of material resources to leave everything behind and follows Jesus.
He chose the greater good.
What do I need to let go of in the pursuit of the greater good?
Is Jesus my greater good?