13th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Am 8:4–6, 9–12
Hear this, you who trample on the needy to do away with the weak of the land. You who say, “When will the new moon or the sabbath feast be over that we may open the store and sell our grain? Let us lower the measure and raise the price; let us cheat and tamper with the scales, and even sell the refuse with the whole grain. We will buy up the poor for money and the needy for a pair of sandals.”
Yahweh says, “On that day I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
“I will turn your festivals into mourning and all your singing into wailing. Everyone will mourn, covered with sackcloth and every head will be shaved. I will make them mourn as for an only son and bring their day to a bitter end.”
Yahweh says, “Days are coming when I will send famine upon the land, not hunger for bread or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of Yahweh.
“Men will stagger from sea to sea, wander to and fro, from north to east, searching for the word of Yahweh, but they will not find it.”
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom-house, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and other sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, “Why is it that your master eats with those sinners and tax collectors?”
When Jesus heard this he said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Eating with someone is no longer such a powerful symbol of unity: Today we are used to eating in fast food chains, where you could find yourself eating at table with perfect strangers. But in the Lord’s time, to sit down to meal with someone was to say you were of one mind and heart with that person. We frequently surround the Gospel with such a pious atmosphere that its radical nature is hidden from us. Jesus came to call sinners. It is very hard really to learn that “the last shall be first and the first last.”
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