Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? (Matthew 9:11)
Jesus had a knack for doing exactly the opposite of what everyone expected. If he wasn’t healing on the Sabbath or preaching a message at odds with established wisdom, he was mingling with exactly the wrong sort of person or forgiving public sinners. This was because, unlike most of his detractors, he looked beyond the outward appearance of a person or situation and saw deeper truths and hidden beauty. In other words, he looked at life with heavenly eyes.
So what did Jesus see that caused him to pick Matthew out of a crowd and invite him to become a disciple? Certainly part of the reason was to make it clear that God has a place for even the most hated of people. He wanted to show that even those people we might be inclined to reject have sparks of goodness in them that, when cared for, can begin to burn with God’s love.
But what did Jesus see specifically in Matthew that led him to call him? How would this self-centered tax collector help him bring about the kingdom of heaven? What specific gifts did he bring?
Maybe Jesus saw that Matthew had a stubborn persistence and persuasiveness. It can’t have been easy to squeeze money out of people on a regular basis—and his own people at that! Maybe it was his education; some people believe that the Gospel that bears Matthew’s name is the most finely crafted and best written of them all. Perhaps Matthew simply had an ability to face people without embarrassment or self-consciousness—a trait equally useful for both tax collectors and evangelists!
You might already have an idea of the talents you have that can be used for God. But perhaps your most obvious gifts aren’t the only ones that God wants to use. Could it be that he wants to use you in a new way? Perhaps he can even use a trait that you’ve always considered a negative one. So don’t limit the possible ways that God can use you in building his kingdom. What does he want to accomplish through you? How will he use you next? Ask him!
“Lord, I praise you for your great plan. I open myself to your guidance. Show me how I can serve you today.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Bendigo in the Central Goldfields