Commentary on the Gospel of
To prove the words of Jesus “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” he picked an unlikely man called Mathew, despised by his own people as his disciple. It is a shocking gesture for any law-abiding Jew. The pharisees considered a tax collector a sinner, and was treated as an unclean person by the whole community of Jews. Jesus risked his own reputation as a Jewish teacher in reaching out to Mathew whom they considered a betrayer. Jesus assumed the role of a true physician who cares for life in its fullness. Jesus’ approach transformed Mathew. He left his lucrative job and followed him. Following Jesus involves difficult choices and decisions. Mathew had the courage to go beyond the things he loved in life in order to be a disciple. In showing God’s concern for sinful and despised ones, Jesus also challenges outward practice of religion devoid of sensibilities to those in need and those crying for mercy.
The name Matthew means gift of God or given by God. His name reminds the goal of every follower of Jesus, to be a gift of God in oneself and for others. On the other hand, Mathew is a reminder to the communities of disciples that instead of excluding those who are weak, bothersome, nuisance and unfit to our standards, consider them as gifts of God for the community, because their presence makes God present among us and provides an opportunity to witness to the Gospel and Christian charity.
I'm very impressed