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Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesusmovedonfrom there, hesawamannamed Matthew, at his seat in the custom-house; and he said to him, “Follow me!” And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why is it that your master eats with sinners and tax collectors?”When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”


“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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