DAILY MASS READINGS (September 21, 2019)

FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW, APOSTLE (CYCLE C, Red)

Reading 1 (EPHESIANS 4:1-7, 11-13)

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians

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.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 19:2-3, 4-5)

R.(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.
R.Their message goes out through all the earth.
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.
R.Their message goes out through all the earth.

Alleluia (See Te Deum)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 9:9-13)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

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.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Apostle Saint Matthew. And the Gospel today narrates the story of his calling from a tax collector into an Apostle. The focal point of his written account as an Evangelist is the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus though he was God humbled himself into our nature, and became one like us except sin, so that he might teach us the right way of life, whether we are a sinner or a saint. The story of St. Matthew’s conversion gives us a background of how Jewish society at that time views tax collectors. They are considered to be sinners because they cheat, and traitors because they work for the Romans. No wonder the Jewish leaders such as the Pharisees and scribes would exempt themselves from paying taxes. That is why they accuse him of wastefulness of time with sinners like Matthew (Levi). But Jesus pictures his mission of forgiving sinners and calling them to conversion as the spiritual doctor aiding the needs of those spiritually ill by sin and brokenness in society. No wonder St. Matthew begins his Gospel with the Genealogy of our Lord, that even though the greatest men of the old have their strengths and weaknesses like Abraham, David, Solomon, etc., they have been called by Yahweh to serve the people, to lead them back to him in faith and trust, and to make a covenant with him that they may be true and observant to his teachings. But the reason why God has chosen St. Joseph the carpenter and the Virgin Mary whom he preserved from all stain of sin is that Jesus Christ might be born without the blemish of sin, to show our submissiveness to the divine will. Even at the point of Death, Christ offers his life on the Cross to save us from falling into sin, to make us more faithful to the Lord and his divine will, and that we may be enabled to give witness to his Gospel of love and mercy, which is God the Father’s great design of salvation. This is what the Matthean account wants to teach us, especially on how we undergo the struggle of good and evil. Whether we are a sinner or a saint, we are all called to experience God’s mercy for all, and share it as well with others, especially those who are in need physically and spiritually.

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