“The Calling of Saint Matthew” – Caravaggio
He said to him, “Follow me. (Matthew 9:9)”
What must Matthew have been thinking in that moment? “Who? ME? Do you know who I am? Do you know what I’ve done? If you really knew, you wouldn’t be asking me to follow you.” But the invitation of Jesus remained, “Follow me.”
For those of you who may not be familiar with the story of Saint Matthew, one of the 12 apostles, here is a brief overview: Matthew finds himself in his day-to-day routine at his 9-5 job, carrying out the demands of those above him and collecting the tax for the temple and for Caesar. Nothing about that morning signaled Matthew that today would be any different from all his other days at work…but it was. That morning, Jesus was passing by and that morning, Matthew would be giving a choice between existing or living, between surviving or thriving.
This is Saint Matthew’s story. Your story is probably different or maybe it’s the same. Maybe you heard Jesus call you in the middle of your everyday activities. Maybe you heard the call in the hallways of your high school. Maybe it was on the field or the bus. Maybe it was at home at the dinner table.
Or maybe your story is very different. Maybe you’re just feeling like Jesus passed you right by and forgot to call you…maybe you are still waiting to hear the Lord call you. Sure, maybe you’ve been to a youth conference or a retreat and have been told that Jesus is calling you to change the world. But I am not talking about that collective you, but the personal you….you…
To you, Jesus says, “Follow me.”
No matter who you are, the story you have or what haunts you from your past (remember SAINT Matthew was a tax collector, one of the most hated people of the time AND a sinner!), the call remains. The real question is, how will you respond today?
Jesus says, “Follow me.” Matthew rises from his story and follows. The discipleship begins…