Father Cantalamessa on St. Matthew's Vocation
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Gospel
ROME, JUNE 5, 2005 (Zenit) - In his commentary on this Sunday's readings, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, talks about the calling of St. Matthew.
* * *
God Desires Mercy
There is something moving in the Gospel of the day. Matthew does not tell us about something that Jesus did or said to somebody, rather what he said and did to him. It is an autobiographical page, the story of his meeting with Christ which changed his life.
"Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' He rose and followed him." The incident is not mentioned in the Gospels, however, because of the personal importance invested in Matthew. The interest is due to what follows after the moment of the calling. Matthew wished to give a great banquet in his home, to bid farewell to his former work companions, "publicans and sinners."
To the indefectible reaction of the Pharisees, Jesus replies: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.'" What does that phrase mean, which Jesus quoted from the prophet Hosea? Perhaps it means that all sacrifice and mortification is useless, and that it is enough to love for everything to go well? This passage might lead some to reject Christianity's ascetic dimension, as residue of an afflictive and Manichean mentality that must be overcome.
First of all we must observe a profound change of perspective. In Hosea, the expression refers to man, to what God desires of him. God desires love and knowledge of man, not external sacrifices and holocausts of animals. When Jesus expresses it, instead, he refers to God. The love that is mentioned is not the one that God requires of man, but the one he gives man. "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" means: I desire to use mercy, not to condemn. Its biblical equivalent is what is said in Ezekiel: "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (33:11).
God does not desire "to sacrifice" his creature, but to save him. With this clarification, one also understands better Hosea's expression. God does not desire sacrifice at all costs, as if he enjoyed seeing us suffering; nor does he desire sacrifice made to claim rights and merits before him, or out of a misunderstood sense of duty. Instead he desires sacrifice that is required by his love and by the observance of the Commandments. "One does not live in love without sorrow," says the Imitation of Christ, and daily experience itself confirms it. There is no love without sacrifice. In this connection, St. Paul exhorts us to make of all our life "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God," (Romans 12:1).
Sacrifice and mercy are good things, but they can become evil if they are badly distributed. They are good things if (as Christ did) one chooses sacrifice for oneself and mercy for others. They become evil if the opposite is done, and mercy is chosen for oneself and sacrifice for the rest, if one is indulgent with oneself and rigorous with others, always ready to excuse ourselves and merciless when judging others. Have we nothing to change in regard to our conduct?
We cannot conclude the commentary on Matthew's vocation without affectionate and grateful acknowledgement to this evangelist who accompanies us with his Gospel in the course of the whole of this first liturgical year.
Caravaggio, who painted "The Calling of St. Matthew," also left a picture of the evangelist while he was writing his Gospel. An early version was destroyed in Berlin during the last war. In a second version, which has come down to us, he is kneeling on the footstool, with his pen in hand, listening attentively to the angel (his symbol) who transmits divine inspiration to him. Thank you, St. Matthew. Without you, how much poorer would be our knowledge of Christ!
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Vocation, Gospel, Mass, Vatican, Matthew
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Who is serving in the President's Cabinet? Here's the list
- St. Cecilia: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November 22, 2017
- Christians in the Philippines join campaign against Christian persecution
- Intro to Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for a New Culture of Life HD ...
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, November 22, 2017
- ISIS threatens Pope Francis, Catholics with disturbing propaganda images
- Islamic State threatens Pope Francis in gory propaganda ad HD Video
- Daily Reading for Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 HD
- Atheist plans to build a Robot God for other Atheists to worship HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way