Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Homily for 21 Sep 2016

21 Sept 2016
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Jesus works with what he has.  He doesn’t throw things out and start over.  He’s like somebody who goes into an antique store and discovers a treasure.  Maybe it’s an old silver bowl, black with tarnish, and even with a few dings in it.  But Jesus loves it and snatches it right up.  The way he sees it, it has potential: the bowl is basically good.

I wonder if that’s how Jesus saw Matthew, sitting there at the customs post.  Maybe Matthew was like that old silver bowl: tarnish with sin, and even with a few dings in him.  But Jesus loved him and snatched him right up.  Jesus could see beneath mere appearances, and he knew he’d found a treasure.  Of course, that silver bowl would need to be shined up, and straightened out—just like St. Matthew.

And that’s how Jesus looks at us, too.  He sees us; we’re basically good—except we’re tarnished by our sins; we have a few dings and bruises from living in the world.   But, in spite of that, he snatches us up . . . if we’ll go.  Of course, we’re going to have get shined up and straightened out by the mercy of God.  But Jesus is happy to do that; he’s overjoyed to fix us up . . . if we’ll go.

That’s always the thing—we have to go with Jesus.  But where to?  Well, I guess to wherever they fix up tax collectors and sinners and turn them into apostles and saints.  And I think that place is right here at the altar of God, and in our honest prayers and conversations with God.  That’s where we get all shined up and straightened out—in the bosom of God, letting Jesus feed us with the nourishment of his grace and mercy.

Jesus works with what he has; he loves to do that.  He doesn’t throw things out and start over.  He takes us as we are, and he works with us to make us even better—for our own good, for the good of others, and for his glory.  There’s nothing to lose in letting Jesus snatch us up and work on us.  So why not give it a go . . . let’s follow him, and see the potential he already sees in us.

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