Grace to you!
I reflect on how our past inspires us to ongoing renewal.
Many biblical figures had the opportunity to write a bit about their life. One of them was Matthew, the said author of the Gospel according to Matthew.
In Matthew 9:9-13, he describes the events of his call by the Lord Jesus. In few words, he tells us so much about what the call meant to him, the tax collector.
The Lord called him. He followed. He was at dinner with the Lord and many other tax collectors and sinners. He contrasts the openness of the sinners towards the Lord with the attitude of the Pharisees, who were showing signs of “holier than thou.”
Matthew wrote those details—the good and the bad about himself—with such brevity because he may have reached the freedom for Christ, which our past can’t cripple. Often, when we aren’t completely free from something, we tend to be defensive. Matthew wasn’t defensive. He was free indeed!
The call to follow the Lord presupposes a past that must be left behind. A past, though shameful, yet is revealing of what the power of God’s grace can do in the heart of anyone who welcomes it. Without that past, there would be no need for a new call. With a new call, there should be no more need to be defensive.
If the past is very shameful, it shouldn’t be a stumbling block to the “new way”, Christ’s way. We speak of saving grace, salvation, because there was sin. In fact, the more shameful the past, the more likely we appreciate better the freshness of freedom, grace and new life in Christ. “Where sin increased, grace abound all the more” (Rm 5:20).
Many spiritual writers would agree that unless we could identify that moment, or some moments in our past that brought us on our knees, leading us to ask for divine grace and mercy, we may not have truly been converted or attuned to God’s redeeming and transforming grace. Ongoing conversion or renewal is normal. It’s expected of the true believer.
The Lord Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13).
Praying for the grace of humble, repentant heart and healing. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Friday Week 13 Ordinary Time: Gn 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67; Matthew 9:9-13]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.