Monday - September 21
Hope! One of the strongest, most powerful words in the history of the world. It is a word that changes lives and invigorates people to action. Physicians, financial consultants, psychologists, and job placement services will all say the same thing about hope – it is often the single thing between a person and the abyss. It is what provides the ability to believe they can recover form anything and everything. Hope changes lives.
The placement of today’s Gospel is really interesting. It comes after the Sermon on the Mount, the teaching Jesus gives where He instructs about the acceptance of the lowly and those who are struggling…blessed are the meek and the poor in spirit and the merciful, etc. Today’s Gospel comes after Jesus teaches about the golden rule, about judging others, healing the leper, and forgiving the sins of the paralytic. And in today’s Gospel, Jesus put what he teaches into practice, and makes His teaching real once again.
Matthew was a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people because tax collectors aligned themselves with the Romans and made a living off taking advantage of people. In all likelihood, Matthew lived a financially comfortable life. And yet, he recognized there was something not right about his life so he drops everything and places his hope in Jesus.
The Pharisees are incensed by the actions of Jesus when Jesus reaches out to Matthew and asks Matthew to follow Him. Why would a man of God want to interact with obvious sinners, and these sinners in particular because they were unclean? That would make Jesus unclean. Jesus responds with hope, the hope found in the mercy.
This week, let’s look at our lives. What needs to change? We can act like Matthew and be bold – not reckless, but bold, and place at the foot of the cross our cares, concerns, sins, frustrations, sorrows, and all the stuff we see that is wrong in our lives. We can turn all those things into courageous pursuit of the Truth. We can trust that when we say Jesus lead me, ask for direction from the Holy Spirit, regardless of where we are in our lives, regardless of whatever is broken, it will all be ok in the end. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. There is a tomorrow and when we trust in God we are assured it is all going to be ok. Somehow. Some way. It will all be good.