“What I want is mercy. . .”The celebration at the table in Matthew’s house expresses a foretaste of the celebration that happens in the kingdom of God. The welcoming and bringing together of people, sinners or righteous, is a joyous celebration in the kingdom. And the recon- ciliation of individuals with their Maker is one thing to celebrate.Even before Jesus said to Matthew “Follow me!”, he al- ready looked at him with mercy. The words “Follow me!” carry in them the merciful love of Jesus, from which forgiveness springs. It is mercy that Jesus brings and offers; it is also what He desires.Mercy characterizes in a con- crete way the ministry of Jesus. It is a mark of the reign of God that Jesus ushered in, a mark of the Church, and a mark of a Christian. Mercy allows us to un- derstand, forgive and welcome. That is why there is a celebra- tion at the house of Matthew. That is why in the celebration of the Eucharist everyone may par- ticipate. This same mercy, which allowed reconciliation with God and our fellow humans, calls us to extend to others our expe- rience of Jesus’ merciful love to others.
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