Many of us know the background of the apostle Matthew. He was a tax collector who was a member of the social affluent. During the time of Jesus, tax collectors had a bad reputation because of corrupt practices. Matthew’s world was figuratively much different from Jesus’s world, even though they lived in the same place.
Jesus was able to break into Matthew’s world and called him in a very different way of life than the one he had known. Matthew went on to become one of the twelve that Jesus anointed to be his disciples. He also became the inspiration behind the Gospel according to Matthew.
Matthew experienced both God’s forgiveness and God’s call to a new way of life through the compassion of Jesus. Jesus reveals God to be someone “who desires that mercy be shown more than that sacrifices be offered and who seeks out sinners more than the virtuous (Mt 9:13).”
The call of Matthew reminds us that the Lord is always seeking to break into our world, whatever the state of the personal world we are in. The Lord wants to bring his boundless mercy towards us and invites us to share his work in the world. By the same token, we are also called to cross every boundary that divides us and enter the world of others. We are called to be agents of God’s transforming love and mercy.