HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU TO CHANGE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
In the day’s Gospel, we have the call of the tax collector Levi (Matthew) to become an apostle of Jesus. This was a puzzle from some Pharisees who saw Jesus eating at table with them. Tax collectors were regarded as bad persons then. They abuse their fellow Jews. The Roman government hired them to exact taxes. They take advantage of their position by collecting more than what the Roman government required. For this, their fellow Jews hated them.
To give us an idea of this, Zacchaeus made a confession when Jesus visited him in his house. Maybe out of joy because Jesus visited Him, he made a decision to change. As proof, he volunteered to give half of what he has for the poor and if he had defrauded anyone, he will pay it fourfold. We do not have an idea of how much Matthew exacted. The fact that Pharisees criticized Jesus for mingling and even eating with them, reflected what kind of tax collector Matthew was.
Jesus knew this when He made he call for Matthew to follow Him. Matthew responded positively. Like Zacchaeus, he might have heard a lot about Jesus. And that call, “follow me” made Matthew decide to abandon what he was doing wrong as a tax collector. As we know, Matthew became one of the Gospel writers. He made use of his knowledge not anymore to serve the Romans a taxman but to serve Jesus as an evangelist.
God can write straight on crooked lines. There is always hope for everyone to change. In the context of the pope’s visit, God is a God of mercy and compassion. All of us were created by God in His image and likeness. He wants us to be with Him in the end. God forgives always.