Ten years ago, I attended a retreat for the first time. I realized that I have failed God many times. At the end of the retreat, there was a solemn prayer. During that prayer, tears began to flow from my eyes as I remembered all my sins. I had been enjoying my life away from God instead of serving Him and making time for Him. I begged Him to forgive me for my transgressions. Following the retreat, I resolved to commit to deepening my relationship with Him, serving Him, and making up for lost time. Although there are still moments of downfall, I still hold on to God’s mercy.
Many people, like St. Matthew, were converted as a result of God’s compassion, love, and forgiveness. God is still on a mission of calling sinners. I, myself, am a work in progress, so is everyone else. The challenge here is how we should not become self-righteous like the Pharisees. Rather, we should imitate Christ by extending mercy and compassion to sinners like us.
Despite committing sins again and again, God gives us many opportunities to come back to Him. These opportunities lead us to the process of spiritual growth, like what happened to St. Matthew. After responding to Jesus’ call, he began a new life with Christ, and grew in holiness and service. May we be like St. Matthew in his continuous and positive response to the call of conversion and mission.
By: Sem. Edward R. Miana
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”