Scripture: 1st Reading: Gen23,1-4,19;24,1-8,62-67; Resp. Psalm: Ps106,1-5; Gosp. Accl.: Mt11,28; Gospel: Mt9,9-13
The death of a loved one is always a very sad and harrowing experience. The departure that leads to separation is one of the most painful human experiences. There is no one who will not experience this at a time in his life. Abraham, the faithful and just servant of Yahweh, had a taste of this when Serah, his wife, died. Abraham, a hundred and thirty seven years old and thus a grand old man at the time of Serah's death, mourned and wept over the death of his wife.
Abraham however knew that he had to continue the mission he had been given. He knew that he had the responsibility to make sure the promise God made to him was kept and handed over to Isaac in its pristine purity. He knew that that promise could not materialize without a child for Isaac. Isaac could not have a child if he was not married. Abraham wanted a wife from his place of birth for his son. God granted the wish of Abraham and Rebekah's consent was sought and obtained and she became the wife of Isaac.
The story of the life of Abraham and his wife showed understanding between the two. It showed respect, love, dialogue and communication. The marriage of Abraham and Serah reflected abiding faith in God. It also reflected deep commitment to family matters, especially to the raising of their son, Isaac, his protection and security of his future. Both Abraham and Serah were quintessential parents who loved their child with a great love.
In today's gospel, our Lord in a different occasion and setting, demonstrated this great love towards tax collectors and sinners. Our Lord taught by His actions that no one is ever to be ostracized or rejected. Our Lord demonstrated that great love can bring the sinner back from his errors to the harbour of truth. The call of Matthew, the loathed and hated one from the tax office, drew many other tax collectors and sinners to accept the message of our Lord.
Our Lord's welcoming gesture, sitting at table and eating together with them, must have made it clear to them that all hope was not lost. Our Lord Himself, on that occasion, defined the character of His mission: "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'. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Abraham desired to secure the future of Isaac, his son, so that the promise of God to him might not be jeopardized. Our Lord desired and continues to desire the salvation of sinners so that they might not lose the promise of the kingdom. We are the sinners that His loving gaze is directed towards today. He came to call us out of the pit of sin and error. Are we ready to answer His call?
Let us pray: "Lord our God, you showed your love for Abraham at the different stages of his life. Give us your grace to respond to your love for us. Turn our steps back from sin and destruction to life and love. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.