After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.
Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
It's been a few days since I have said my morning or evening prayers as I should, and this morning, I decided it was about time to get around to it again. And these are the words of the gospel appointed for today, the calling of St. Matthew to be a disciple of Christ. Every time I hear of St. Matthew's calling it is a strong reminder to me that, like my patron saint, I too am called out of the life that I have made for myself and to follow Christ. And it seems like I am always hearing these words at a time when I am clearly not living up to even my own standards for how I should live for God.
In reading these words today, my thought was "Why do You still eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? St. Matthew was called and it says he "left all, rose up, and followed Him." That call is the same for all of us, and yet most of us stay right where we are. Those who do heed that call usually follow for a time and then wander off, hopefully to return later. And yet Christ remains with us despite our sins, despite our shameful treatment of others, all He asks is that we repent of our sins, make amends with our neighbor, and come and eat and drink with Him. And not only does He eat and drink with us, but He gives of Himself as our food and as our drink, abiding in us.
This morning's prayers brought a reminder that I am still in need of a physician, but that Christ is still sitting at the table of the feast, ready to eat and drink with me, and to give of Himself for my healing and forgiveness.