Archive for the ‘St. Matthew’ Category

God Calls Unlikely People

March 19, 2023

4th Sunday of Lent
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday, which means “rejoice.” The Church is joyful in anticipation of the Resurrection of our Lord. Today’s readings remind us that it is God who gives us proper vision in the body as well as in the soul. We need to be constantly on guard against spiritual blindness. God has a plan for each of us. He can call any of us to the vocation He has chosen for us. Being a priest, nun, or religious are not the only vocations. God has called some to married life or to be single. Prayer is very important to us in discerning our vocation.

When God called Moses, he was tending the sheep of his father–in–law, Jethro. God called him from the burning bush, but Moses had many excuses. If I say to the sons of Israel, the God of your father sent me, and they ask me what is His name? what shall I say to them? God said to Moses, “I am Who am.” I don’t think they will listen to me, I am not eloquent, I am afraid, I don’t want to go alone. God told him to take his brother Aaron with him and God would also be with him. Because God was with him, Moses was able to fulfill God’s request. He went to Pharaoh and led the Israelites out of Egypt. They were in the desert for forty years, and God provided everything they needed. Moses was able, with God’s help, to deliver His people to the land flowing with milk and honey.

In the New Testament, we have the call of Matthew. When Jesus called him, Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors were not upstanding citizens, they worked for the Romans, they kept some of the tax money for themselves, and they went after people to get the tax money from them. They did whatever it took to get the money. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” He followed Jesus leaving his work, money, and everything behind. He was completely changed. He became one of the Apostles and wrote the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible. He is the one who wrote the genealogy of Jesus.

In the first reading today, God sent the Prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a king for Israel. Jesse had seven sons with him and presented each one to the Prophet Samuel. Samuel thought each one would be acceptable, but God said No. Jesse had one other son, David, who was tending the sheep. They sent for him and the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” (1 Samuel 15:12) God chose the most unlikely candidate, the shepherd boy to be king of Israel. God told Samuel, Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.

Our Gospel today tells us about the healing of the blind man. After receiving his sight, he believed in Jesus and followed Him. Let us not be blind to Jesus, we need to believe and follow him as this man did. We are all called by God to be faithful to our vocation, whatever it is in life. Moses, Matthew, and David were faithful to God. As a religious, married, or single we also need to be faithful to God.

Those of you who are parents, bring your children to God. You presented them to God for baptism, don’t stop there. Pray with them. Bring them to church, and teach them to love God as you love them. Be a good example to them. Let them see you praying on your knees at home and in church. Teach them to be faithful to God by your example. God is calling us today to follow Him.

Called to Seek & Save

January 22, 2022

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
  because he has anointed me
  to bring glad tidings to the poor
  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
  and recovery of sight to the blind,
  to let the oppressed go free
  and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

—Luke 4:18-19

In the beginning, God created everything by His words. When God created the first human being, He created him out of the dust in His own image and likeness. God’s creation was perfect, yet Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. Instead of following his instructions, Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, bringing darkness and death into the world. But God did not abandon them. He gave them hope by sending them a savior who would be born from the seed of a woman and would crush the head of the serpent who tricked them. This Savior would save His people from sin and death. From that moment on, God’s mission started.

In our time we have a wonderful saint, Mother Teresa, who continued God’s mission to the poor, the orphan, the refugees and all those who are considered least in the society. Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in Yugoslavia in ordinary family. At the age of twelve she had a call from Jesus to serve the poor. When she was eighteen years old, she left her home to join a community of Irish nuns. One of Mother Teresa’s first assignments was to teach in the school, Later she discovered that God was calling her to do more. She received a second calling, “a call within a call.” She left the convent life and started to work with the poor in the streets. She started this mission with 5 rupees, which is Indian money worth less than a penny. People witness her nuns ministering to the suffering Jesus whom they encountered in the poor, especially those who were dying in the streets. She quickly attracted both financial support and volunteers. This is the way God continues His mission even today.

Today’s first reading is a beautiful scene of Nehemiah, who was a layman, not a priest, not a king. During the Babylonian exile, Nehemiah served under the Persian king as a cup bearer, a position of great importance and influence with the king’s court. Nehemiah was a man who was dependent on God, always praying, always seeking to be sensitive to God’s will in his life. One day he had a chance to speak to the king about helping the people of Israel to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the Jews came together to accomplish the goal of reconstructing the walls of Jerusalem, Judea’s capital city. Nehemiah and Ezra led the spiritual renewal of the people and directed the political and religious restoration of the Jews in their homeland after the Babylonian captivity. God shows us how He can take an ordinary layman like Nehemiah to continue His extraordinary mission to His people.

The mission begins in the heart of God. God sent his only Son to this world to save His people. Jesus’ mission was to save that which was lost. Jesus was convinced that he was able to fulfill his mission because God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit. When Jesus entered Zacchaeus’ house He said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus had just been criticized for going to the house of a sinner. Jesus responded by affirming His mission to save the lost; sinners whose reputation for sinfulness was not a reason avoid then, rather, it was a reason to seek them out. In Matthew chapter nine, when Jesus went to Matthew’s home for dinner, while he was at table, once again Jesus was criticized for “eating with the tax collector and sinners,” and once again Jesus responded by stating of His mission “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Jesus’ mission was to save His people. Jesus did not passively wait for the lost to come to Him, but He went after them. He explained His mission in the Parable of the Lost Sheep (in Luke chapter fifteen). In this parable, Jesus talks about a shepherd who loses his sheep and leaves the rest of his herd to find that lost sheep. Jesus concludes this parable saying “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous’ persons who need no repentance.”

The Church by its nature is missionary because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son Incarnate in Jesus into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation, as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. How should we evangelize? By exemplary and transparent Christian life. The most powerful means of preaching Christ is by living a truly Christian life — a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion, and a spirit of forgiveness and service.

A Cursory Commentary of St. Matthew’s Gospel

July 23, 2012

By Father Victor Feltes

Matthew 1

Jesus is not a “once upon a time” myth, he becomes man as a part of real history

Jesus’ genealogy shows that God writes straight with crocked lines. He succeeds despite sins.

Forty forefathers’ generations precede Jesus because forty symbolizes times of preparation.

Like God the Father, Joseph chose mercy over what “the law” permitted (Deuteronomy 22:20.)

Joseph, like his namesake in Genesis, has dreams which lead to the salvation of the world.