First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
Their message goes out through all the earth. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard; Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message.
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
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.”
There Matthew sat in his sin.
Everyone knew tax collectors took more than they should, keeping the extra for themselves. They were liars and thieves. They weren't respected or trusted. Perhaps as Matthew sat in his sin, he was inwardly crying out to God, begging for a savior, hoping someone would restore his dignity.
We all have a sin or at least a temptation that, if we let it, can define us and become the sum of who we are. Every other characteristic about us, all the intricate details God added while He lovingly shaped us in the quiet, they can all be wiped away by the word we allow to define us.
Bitter. Lazy. Mean. A gossip. Jealous. Afraid. Lustful. Prideful. Angry. Timid. Self-centered. No self-control. Unreliable. We sit with these sins and we begin to believe them. Maybe it starts out small but when we allow it, they will take over until we reach the point where we doubt our own worth.
Now this part is important: You are not your sin.
You are a daughter of God. You are His beloved. You are His creation. God does not create, love, or redeem crap.
Right now, Christ is calling out to you, just as He did to Matthew. Just like Matthew, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Get up and follow Him.
Do you have a sin or a struggle that has been festering in your heart and soul? Find the next available confession times or schedule an appointment with your priest. Follow Christ to the Sacraments so He can heal you with His Mercy.
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She lives with her husband and five children in central Illinois. You can find out more about her here.