Make Ready, O Manger: Advent Reflections – The Feast of St. Matthew

St. Matthew and the Angel, Rembrandt (1661)

St. Matthew and the Angel, Rembrandt (1661)

Today is the feast of St. Matthew and so the reading is from Matthew chapter 9.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

By and large, I do not see myself as a “sinner” and, therefore, I do not see myself as needing a Savior. I go through the day, doing what I can or need to. I sit at my work, my booth, making and then counting the money, not really thinking about my sins. Then the Fast comes. Christ walks by and says to us and Matthew, “Follow me.” Matthew drops everything and follows Christ. He stops the gathering, the consuming, the accounting, knowing he needs instead (much more) a Savior. He needs God incarnate.  With the beginning of the Fast, we can let the opportunity pass us by, keep sitting at our booth, collecting (going on with business as usual). Or we can get up, fast from what we normally do, eat, say, think, buy, and answer the call of Christ to sinners. Matthew knew he was a sinner who desperately needed a Savior. Do you?

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