Saint Matthew wrote in today’s gospel:
“Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me’. And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.”
Most of us know that the tax collector named Levi became Saint Matthew. Saint Matthew made what seemed to be a very small decision at the time, but it ended up affecting his entire life and the rest of mankind as well. Even to this day, this single decision is still affecting all of us. There are literally billions of Christians throughout the world right now that are still being affected by Saint Matthew’s decision, that he made on the spur of the moment. It also affected billions of people who lived in the past and will continue to influence many future generations as well.
Our small decisions matter. It isn’t so much the big decisions that we make in life that affects our lives and future generations. It is the small choices that we make every day that matter. The decision to take a particular class in high school or college. The decision to ask someone out on a date, or agree to go on a date. The decision to attend a spiritual retreat at church. Something little like smoking a cigarette for the first time, or even trying a drug like marijuana.
We make small decisions that are either good, or bad. The choice is ours. God gave us free will and we have total freedom to choose the direction of our lives. He does not want puppets, but flesh and blood human beings that freely choose to love Him. In a way, it’s kind of like a marriage that is based on love, not entered into out of a sense of duty or obligation.
Saint Matthew recognized something in Jesus. He felt a spark of something new in his heart. Something different but genuine that was calling him, even if he didn’t fully understand it at the time. Saint Matthew stepped out in pure faith, into something new that he had never experienced before – simply because he recognized the Truth when he encountered it. Jesus’s holiness must have been very evident to him, even during their very brief encounter. He took a risk and followed the truth, love, compassion and holiness that he saw and personally experienced in the person of Jesus Christ. One step at a time, he learned to trust Jesus more and more with his whole life, and eventually dedicated His entire life to serving Him.
Do you have a tendency to shy away from trying something new? Does the unknown frighten you? There are a lot of people that cling to the way that things have always been and are afraid of change. They don’t trust themselves. They don’t trust others. It is difficult to step into the unknown without a stable, concrete plan to follow.
Faith in Jesus Christ does not always have a stable, concrete plan to follow though. Yes, it’s true that our church’s sacraments, traditions and worship give us a sense of stability and security … it is one of the few Christian religions in the world that you can depend on to be unchanging. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. However, it is a different matter in our personal lives.
We can not always cling to the way things have always been. Either we move forward into the unknown, or take a step back and never grow spiritually, because we are afraid of making a mistake. Smooth sailing does not make a good sailor though. We do not always know what the road ahead may bring, and we may not be able to fully trust ourselves or other people. But what Saint Matthew shows us in today’s gospel, is that we can trust Jesus Christ completely, with our entire life. Jesus will never guide us wrong. It might not be a smooth path, but it will always be the right one.
Today, let’s not be afraid of what the future may bring, but trust in something (Someone) greater than ourselves. The choice to trust the Lord Jesus Christ is a personal one that each of us eventually has to make, based entirely on faith. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith into uncharted waters. Jesus Christ is there, every step of the way. We just have to trust Him, the same way that Saint Matthew did in today’s gospel.
Today’s Readings for Mass: