On his way out of Capernaum, Jesus saw a tax collector by the name of Matthew seated at the tax booth.
Matthew was doing his job which was one that made people despise him, for it classed him with the loan sharks and exploiters who grew rich on the backs of others.
The scribes and Pharisees put him on the same level as public sinners, and criticized Jesus for being ‘a friend of tax collectors and sinners’ and of eating with them.
Going against every social convention,Jesus called Matthew to follow him and accepted the invitation to dine at his home. Later he would do the same with Zaccheus, the chief tax collector in Jericho.
When questioned about his behaviour, Jesus answered that he had come to heal the sick, not the healthy, and to call not the righteous, but sinners. His invitation, now too, was addressed directly to one of these:
Jesus had already spoken these words to Andrew, Peter, James and John on the shore of the lake.
He gave the same invitation, in different words, to Paul on the road to Damascus.
But Jesus did not stop there. Throughout the centuries he has continued to call men and women of every people and nation. He still does so today: he comes into our lives and meets us in different places and different ways, making us hear once more his invitation to follow him. Igino Giordani MP Blessed Chiara Luce Badano Fr. Pino Puglisi – Killed by the mafia Mother Teresa & John Paul II
He calls us to be with him because he wants to build a personal relationship with us, and at the same time he invites us to work with him for his great plan to renew humanity.
Our weaknesses, sins and limitations do not matter to him. He loves us and chooses us just as we are.
His love will then transform us and give us the strength to answer his call and the courage to follow him as Matthew did.
For each of us he has a love, a plan for our life, a specific call. We become aware of it in our hearts through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, or through particular circumstances, or some advice, the suggestion of someone who cares.
Although revealed in different ways, it echoes the same words: “Follow me" Although revealed in different ways, it echoes the same words: “Follow me"
I remember when I too heard this call from God. It was a bitterly cold winter’s morning in Trent.
My mother asked my younger sister to go and buy some milk at a place about a mile away from home. But it was too cold and she did not want to go. My other sister also refused to go. ‘I’ll go, Mum,’ I said, and I picked up the bottle and left the house.
Along the road something a little out of the ordinary happened: it seemed almost as though heaven opened and God asked me to follow him. ‘Give yourself completely to me,’ I felt him say in my heart.
It was a clear call and I wanted to respond to it right away. I talked about it with my priest who gave me permission to give my life to God for ever. It was 7 December 1943. I will never be able to describe what happened in my heart that day. I married God. I could expect everything from him.
These words apply not only to the crucial moment when we make our life choice. Jesus repeats them every day.
‘Follow me’ he seems to say to us before even the simplest daily tasks. ‘Follow me’ in the trial to be embraced, in the temptation to be overcome, in the act of service to be done.…
How can we respond practically? By doing what God wants from us in the present moment, which always bears within it a particular grace.
Our commitment this month, then, will be to give ourselves to God’s will decisively – giving ourselves fully to the brothers and sisters we are called to love, or to our work, study, prayer, rest, to anything we have to do.
Let’s learn to listen deep within us to the voice of God, which speaks also through our conscience. He will tell us what he wants from us in every moment, while we stand ready to sacrifice everything in order to do it.
‘May we love you, O God, not only more each day, for the days that remain may be very few, but may we also love you in each present moment with all our heart, soul and strength in whatever is your will.’ This is the best way to follow Jesus.
“Word of Life”, monthly publication of the Focolare Movement. Original text by: Chiara Lubich, June 2005. Graphic design by Anna Lollo in collaboration with Fr. Placido D’Omina (Sicily - Italy) This commentary on the Word of Life is translated in 96 languages, and it reaches millions of people throughout the world through the press, radio, TV and internet – for more information visit www.focolare.org.uk This Powerpoint presentation is translated in various languagesAnna LolloPlacido D’Ominawww.focolare.org.uk and is published on www.santuariosancalogero.orgwww.santuariosancalogero.org “Word of Life”, monthly publication of the Focolare Movement. Original text by: Chiara Lubich, June 2005. Graphic design by Anna Lollo in collaboration with Fr. Placido D’Omina (Sicily - Italy) This commentary on the Word of Life is translated in 96 languages, and it reaches millions of people throughout the world through the press, radio, TV and internet – for more information visit www.focolare.org.uk This Powerpoint presentation is translated in various languages and is published on www.santuariosancalogero.org "" "Follow me"