Many times we have been made aware of the fact that our Holy Rule is filled with the Gospel message. St. Benedict helps us through the Rule to live what Jesus taught. Today's Gospel brought this out clearly to me. I see in the call of Matthew each of our calls to the monastic way of life.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
In the Gospel Matthew (in Mark's account he is called Levi) is about his usual work...a tax collector. Jesus passed by and said to him, "Follow me." My guess is that each of us can share similar stories of our call. Looking at ourselves we could also admit that we would not have called ourselves anything but a sinner. The mercy of Jesus was already a factor in our call.
The very next thing in the Gospel account is the meal they enjoyed together. Fellowship...an expression of community, common life. All were gathered at that meal...tax collectors and sinners. We hear the overtones of St. Benedict's respect for everyone. In the chapter on Guests we hear St. Benedict saying, "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say, 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me."' As Benedictines we are called to show the mercy Jesus showed to all those at the meal with Matthew. In Chapter 4 we are challenged with behavior that reflects that mercy. Tools are given us to reach out to others as we serve them. Towards the end of the chapter Benedict says very briefly: "and finally, never lose hope in God's mercy."
The theme of this Sunday's readings is mercy. Our Benedictine vocation is surely the result of God's mercy towards us, as it was to Matthew. And living the Gospel as a Benedictine calls us to be messengers of mercy...to each other in community and to all those we serve. Those who are well do not need a physician but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."
St. Matthew, you followed Christ so closely from the day He called you. Help us to be messengers of God's mercy as you were.
Posted by Sr. Nicolette Etienne, OSB at 6:00 PM