Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Unlike most writers for Carpe Verbum, my full-time occupation isn’t Catholic or ministry related. I’m an accountant—which is why I find a special connection to today’s Gospel. In the passage, the patron of accountants and tax collector himself, St. Matthew (also known as Levi), receives his call from Jesus.
In the Jewish communities, tax collectors were thought of as traitors; they collected taxes for the Roman officials and were known to collect extra for themselves. In the preceding section of the Gospel, Jesus had just healed a leper and a paralyzed man. By inviting Matthew to be an apostle, Jesus continues his pattern of reaching out to people on the margins. The first lesson we can reflect on is that Jesus always aligns himself with outcasts. Whether it’s the poor, sick, disabled, or in this case a rich but ostracized tax collector, Jesus finds the outcast. As Christians, we need to do the same. The people who do not fit in at work, school, or elsewhere are the ones we should draw ourselves to and welcome.
Jesus also provides a lesson on evangelization. Notice, Jesus does not reprimand Matthew or his tax collector friends. Instead he and his disciples are eating and drinking with them. I imagine over the course of the meal, the saints and sinners around the table shared with each other their lives and personal journey. Maybe the disciples shared the joy they had found in following Jesus, and maybe the tax collectors confessed feelings of guilt and isolation. The result of such an encounter, as we see with Matthew, is that sinners start to become saints.
I’m guessing we all have people in our lives who do not practice the faith. We may even know a few who consider themselves sinners. We should follow Jesus’ command to share the good news of the Gospel with them. However, before we do so, I encourage us to follow Jesus’ example. Get to know these individuals on a more personal level. Share a meal or drink. Try to understand their perspective and help them understand yours. Jesus, the Divine Physician, can bring remarkable healing to both parties through a genuine conversation.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Who can I reach out to on the margins?
How do I treat sinners?
How can I bring healing and love to those around me?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"You call me to be a saint."
"You call me out of the darkness."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Make an effort to reach out to someone that you might not necessarily agree with, and invite that person to share a meal or a cup of coffee or some other opportunity for shared conversation.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's Prayer was prepared by Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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