Saturday 21 September 2013

Bible Book:

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (v. 13)

Matthew 9:9-13 Saturday 21 September 2013


Today's passage follows yesterday's calling of the firstdisciples (Matthew 4:18-22), as Matthew (or Levi) is added toJesus' band of disciples. The significance of the reading is thattoday is the saint's day for Matthew. Whilst there are doubts aboutwhether the same Matthew can be both disciple and author of theGospel that bears his name, since the days of the early Church thetradition has been that the tax collector named in today's readingis the same person who wrote the Gospel of Matthew. So we honourMatthew and his contributions as apostle and evangelist on thisday.

Was Matthew already well acquainted with Jesus? The story istold in such a way that Matthew, sitting behind his tax-collector'stable, immediately goes after Jesus on being invited to "Follow me"(v. 9). Whether it was a spur of the moment decision orlong-considered, Jesus must have been extremely charismatic which,for a leader, is a very useful trait; as long as charisms are usedselflessly and not for self-glorification. Yesterday's reading concerning thetemptations of Jesus remind us about that danger.

Later, sitting in Matthew's house with "tax collectors andsinners" (v. 10), Jesus is then challenged about the company he iskeeping (verse 11). His reply that "those who are well have no needof a physician, but those who are sick," reveals the consistentreconciliation theme of Jesus' ministry. To add authority to whathe is saying, Jesus then quotes from the prophet Hosea: "I desiremercy, not sacrifice" (Hosea6:6).

Over the past week we have learned about Jesus as God's chosenleader. The Christ or Messiah is on earth to save humanity; Jesusfulfils the Old Testament prophecies, and uses his personal powerand gifts in order that all may be reconciled to God. The key tothe entire mission is love, or as Jesus says, "I desire mercy." Andfor that we may well want to add, 'Thanks be to God'.

To Ponder

  • A Christian understanding of reconciliation involves truth,justice, peace as well as mercy. In your opinion, is any of thefour more important than the others? Why?
  • Matthew got up and followed Jesus. Is God's chosen leadercalling you to do something different with your life? What mightthat be?
Previous Page Friday 20 September 2013
Next Page Sunday 08 September 2013