Answering The Call
Caravaggio: The Calling of St Matthew
I love conversion stories, and St Matthew's story is one of my favorites. What strikes me is how Matthew himself tells his story in today's Gospel (although he doesn't tell it in the 1st person). He [Jesus], said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed Him. Matthew left everything he was doing at that moment and with his life and followed Jesus. From that moment on there was no going or looking back for him.
It seems to be that way for many of us who have had deep and powerful conversions. When we are so stuck in lives of sin, we may not always want to admit it, but something in us knows that things should not be the way they are; we are waiting for someone to show us a better way, and when we have seemed to hit our lowest point, that's when we hear it: "Follow Me." For it is only at those very low and dark points that we seem to be ready and able to hear the Savior's words. He has and is the better way.
I am not sure if at that moment Matthew had any idea what was ahead of him; I'm sure he didn't, but he knew his life as it was before those words was not working for him. He heard the call and he answered it. That was all that mattered because from then on Jesus would take him the rest of the way.
It is the same for each of us. We too have received a call; we have heard Jesus' words to come and follow Him. It is up to each of us to answer. Each person's response is different, but Our Lord knows what it is that He has called us to do. He knows how He would like each of us to spread the Gospel. We just need to be like Matthew and simply get up and follow Jesus.
Today on St Matthew's feast day, let us ask him to intercede for us in answering Jesus' call.