A reading of the holy Gospel according to 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 cameand 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."
Reflection: “Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
In the eighth and ninth chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, the ministry and mission of Jesus include the healing miracles of a Centurion’s Servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, Gadarenes demoniacs, paralytics, and cleansing of a leper. All of these acts of mercy are shown just before the Gospel tells of the “Call of Matthew”. The Pharisees witnessed or heard of these miracles and now their only focus is how Jesus is spending time with public sinners. Consorting with sinners was something they would never do.
Jesus addressed the Pharisees, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” He has spoken to reprimand their accusing thoughts and redirects them to helping those in need of healing. God has graciously shown us how to have mercy and what we can do to practice the acts of mercy, both corporal and spiritual.
"Corporal works of mercy" concern the material needs.
1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give water to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
7. Bury the dead.
"Spiritual works of mercy" concern the spiritual needs.
1. Instruct the ignorant.
2. Counsel the doubtful.
3. Admonish the sinners.
4. Bear patiently those who wrong us.
5. Forgive offenses.
6. Comfort the afflicted.
7. Pray for the living and the dead.
We all should learn how to have mercy on others, both in material and spiritual ways. Let us spend some time meditating on the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy and “learn the meaning of the words” by our actions. And through these acts, we will be doing what God desires.