Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
September 21, 2007
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
All of us at one time or another feel like we don't fit in. At one time or another we each are made to feel like an outsider, an outcast. Most of us can remember those times in school when we weren't cool enough, rich enough, good looking enough, etc. We can remember how horrible it made us feel to be left out.
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist. In our Gospel text we see that Matthew was an outcast. He was a tax collector, a man who was looked upon with great disdain and disrespect. He was despised. Yet Jesus comes along and invites Matthew to become a part of his inner circle, a move that would insult the Pharisees.
Matthew invites Jesus to his home and prepares a meal for him. Along comes Matthew's friends, these sinners as the Pharisees are quick to point out. They are insulted that Jesus would dare associate with these outcasts and they let their feelings be known. Jesus gives us his famous line of how the healthy do not need a doctor but the sick do. Jesus is the healer of our soul, the Great Physician and he invited the sick, the sinner to eat with him and receive his amazing grace and forgiveness.
Matthew was an outcast yet Jesus saw through the bad to the good and made him a great evangelist, an Apostle who would give his life for the good of Christ. How's that for an outsider?!
For Jesus, no one is an outsider. For us to demean, belittle, judge another person puts us outside Jesus' circle. We make ourselves outsiders whenever we let our pride and arrogance rule and we pass judgment on others and deem someone to be an outsider, unworthy. We do it in school when we are kids and then we do it as adults. We form cliques, we form societies that say who is worthy and who isn't. What arrogant rubbish! If Jesus doesn't do it then I feel pretty safe in saying we shouldn't do it!
No one is an outcast to Jesus. However, we make ourselves outcasts when we do not honor one another, love one another as Jesus loves and honors each and everyone of us.