Great feast day today! We celebrate the Feast of St. Matthew today. St. Matthew must have been an incredible personality. His story of repentance and conversion has impacted the lives of millions of people over the years. Our gospel tells us of the calling St. Matthew answered - the call of Jesus, and we can certainly see the great joy Jesus must have had when Matthew said yes.
Jesus often teaches to let go of the things of this world, and St. Matthew likely had a lot of the things of this world. As you probably know, tax collectors were seen as charlatans who stole from the poor and the average guy, only to deliver those taxes to the Romans and pad their own pockets along the way. He likely lived a very comfortable life.
So why leave it all and follow Jesus? I think it is because of joy. There is a joy that is permanent that can only be found in following Jesus. It is a joy that can’t be taken away, and when shared, is infectious. That is why Jesus tells the Pharisees to better understand why He was having dinner with taxpayers and sinners, and they should be doing the same.
As St. Paul tells us, God has made each of us unique with a special role to play in carrying forth the mission of Christ. Do you see how incredibly special Jesus sees you? Do you understand the smile on His face when you turn from habitual sin? Do you desire the joy of St. Matthew that he shared with the Jewish people in writing his gospel? What do you need to get rid of in your life to know all of that better?
Know that God loves you – go smile at Him!