July 3, 2020, Friday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture: Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

The Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.


       “As Jesus passed by . . .

    How do we know Jesus is passing by?  In other words, how do we know if a project is inspired by the Lord? How do we know if the Spirit is urging us to do something? How do we know if a movement in our hearts is reverberating with the movement of God’s will?

Our reading today shows us the breathtaking results of noticing Jesus pass by. While Matthew is in the midst of his daily activity, he sees Jesus and hears him speak to him. He gets up and does what Jesus asks. Then he invites Jesus to a meal in his home with all his friends.

Initially, the key moment is in the noticing. How do we see him? How do we hear him? How can we follow when we’ve neither seen him pass by nor heard his voice? It was much easier for Matthew. He couldn’t miss Jesus standing right in front of him. Was Jesus here only for the few people he met in Palestine during his earthly life? No. He promised us his Spirit, who would remind us of all that he said and did after he had returned to the Father. So how do we notice the Spirit?

In the Bible the images of wind and fire often herald the Spirit’s coming. It’s easy to notice strong winds and burning flames.  The wind and flame of the Spirit’s presence are felt in the movements of our heart: movements toward God, faith, love, and a sense of God’s love for us. We also learn to distinguish movements in our heart away from God, feelings of being abandoned by God, of desolation, hopelessness, and self-centeredness. Sensitivity to these movements helps us to notice “Jesus’ passing by.” Often during the day, therefore, we might want to ask ourselves: what is happening in my heart? To what are my thoughts leading? To what actions am I being drawn? When I think of them, do I feel drawn to God, or away from God?


   Lord, you pass by countless times each day, beckoning. When my thoughts about myself and others are thoughts of mercy, then I know you are passing by.  When I am inflamed with trust and love, you are passing by. When I have a sense of forgiveness and kindness, you are passing by. When I am confused in the darkness, pass by and call me into the light. I will follow.


   When you pass by, call me by name.