Friday 13th. Week of the Year.
Jesus uses the ordinary events of life, such as an everyday meal in someone’s home, to let outsiders know that he welcomes them into his heart.
Jesus instructs us to “go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
The Hebrew word for mercy, hesed,
is translated as a covenantal kindness.
It means to show our love for God
we must have a concern
for the well-being of our neighbors.
After Jesus called Matthew to follow him,
he is so clever to have a dinner
with Matthew’s companions.
Obviously, Jesus did not tell him
to abandon his colleagues
who were collecting taxes
and he did this for a good reason.
The door was left open for Matthew
to converse with his former coworkers
that they may become more just
towards the poor and even generous to them.
We see Jesus in this meal inviting tax collectors
and sinners back into the community of God’s people.
Jesus uses the ordinary events of life,
such as an everyday meal in someone’s home,
to let outsiders know that he welcomes them into his heart.
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
I think of the parable of the king
who invited people to his son’s wedding,
and no one would come.
They all had excuses.
So he told his servants to go out
into the highways and byways
and bring in the poor and the lame
because he wanted his banquet hall full.
I feel Jesus challenging us to not come to church
to celebrate the Eucharist alone.
We have to bring somebody
who has never been welcomed
or never felt welcomed in his house.
Eucharist and evangelization
are two sides of the same coin.
Worshiping God and welcoming the unwanted to his altar
makes a perfect marriage for Jesus.
Is there anyone we can invite to Mass this weekend
who isn’t Catholic or is a non-practicing Catholic?
If not, what initial steps can we take,
like having coffee or dinner,
so when we do ask them to come,
they won’t feel out of place
but very welcomed in God’s house?
They will come
when they feel welcomed in our hearts.
Like anything, we won’t know until we try.