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Calling Not The Righteous But Sinners

Today, September 21st, is the Ember Day of St. Matthew.

The calling of Matthew (Matt 9:9-13) [or of Levi according to the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke] sometimes seems somewhat high gloss and just a tad bit oversimplified for me.  Jesus is just walking along when he sees Matthew in his tax booth.  Jesus says "Follow Me" and Matthew leaves the booth he occupied and follows.  No "Do you know who I am?" or "Do you understand what I ask of you?".  Just "Follow Me" and away they go.
 
It's pretty amazing stuff.  The calling of the first disciples in Matthew and Mark are simply related in scripture as "Come and Follow" stories.  At least in Luke, before the invitation to become "fishers of people", Simon Peter and James and John (the sons of Zebedee) sense something special about Jesus and drop their nets again to haul in a tremendous catch.  But in these other instances, it is merely "Come and Follow".
 
Granted a lot had happened before Jesus comes across Matthew: Jesus was already teaching, preaching, healing and cleansing the people.  Had Matthew seen or heard something from or about Jesus that freed his mind of any and all questions and set his feet a'movin'?  What did Matthew know and believe already of this Jesus that opened his heart and allowed him to rise and follow?  How did Matthew feel in his innermost being as he left his place of role and responsibility to go on into something new and unknown?  Was a Matthew already a "disciple in waiting", just hoping to be found by Jesus, praying to be invited by Christ?

Who knows.  Jesus said 'Come' and Matthew replied 'Yes!'  Sometimes what we do not say with our mouths, we show by our actions.  He got up and walked on with Jesus.  I view Matthew is the vehicle by which Jesus goes to sit and sup among the tax collectors and sinners.  Did Jesus need Matthew?  No.  I believe Jesus would have gone into that 'den of thieves' on his own for that is the work he had before him.  "For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners".  But Christ had already begun a new work in Matthew.  Perhaps seeing that in Matthew, the other tax collectors and sinners there were then more open to listen to, hear, and follow Christ.