Caravaggio’s painting of Saint Matthew is striking. Christ points to Matthew and calls him. It almost seems to be a gaze that is irresistible and invitation that one cannot avoid when the Son of God calls for you to follow him.
Jesus quotes Hosea in yesterday’s Gospel I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Matthew 9.13). In the book of Hosea, Israel’s infidelity took the shape of idolatry and oppression to the poor, yet God constantly called Israel to himself. God strips Israel and Israel is once again aware of her need for Yahweh. Matthew knew his sin and knew that the Son of Yahweh was calling him. It was a call not only to conversion, but a call to give up everything to follow the Savior.
In the feasting of Matthew’s response, it was fitting to hear of a friend who has decided to respond to that same invitation given to Matthew. My friend begins his journey to discern his vocation and hopes to enter the seminary this upcoming year. Pray for him as he runs after the heart of Christ. Listening to my friend and how joyful he is in responding to Christ’s invitation was a reminder that holiness is ALWAYS God’s initiative. Christ looks at my friend and looks at us in the same manner in which he looked at Matthew. Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13.8). Christ who calls us to himself and who forms us into his own image.