Second Sunday after Pentecost
June 11, 2023
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-9
Psalm 33: 1-12
Second Reading: Romans 4: 13-25
Gospel: Matthew 9: 9-13, 18-26
Oh, God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit on God, for ever and ever. Amen
“God’s Promises Can Be Fulfilled Through Faith”
Abraham, the father of Isaac and the grandfather of Jacob. Abraham is for us Christians, the “father of the faith.” Why did God choose Abraham? because he had the ability to use superior logic in those days of his generation, above all others, and God knew this. Abraham was 75 years old when God sent him and his family to a land unknown to them, but God will show them the way. The covenant with Abraham is a covenant of grace.
God promised that he will give him this land for all his descendants. “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you.” And through Isaac and the twelve tribes of Israel, one of those tribes led to the promise of the Messiah Jesus.
Abraham shows faith even when it seems to be a hopeless circumstances and obstacles, yet he believed God’s promises when he was mocked by others. He even grew in his faith, because he gave glory to God.
How can we have this same kind of great faith?
The Gospel of Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
I want you to imagine Jesus’ walking along and he sees a tax collector, Matthew at his tax booth, Jesus tells him… to follow him?
Just like that, Matthew gets up and follows Jesus, it does not say anything about what Matthew was thinking or saying, I pictured him saying, where, where we going? Will it cost me? Or should I close shop? Maybe he felt he needed to show hospitality, do, you want to come over for dinner? The verse says, Jesus sat at dinner in the house.
Tax collectors were like our IRS, they would take from the poorest of the poor and make the rich richer. Even themselves.
Why choose a tax collector? That is why Jesus is there, He wants to bring in those who need him the most. He also sees something in Matthew, other than a tax collector, perhaps He knew, Matthew would be a devoted follower and one that would write our first gospel.
Jesus is eating with many tax collectors and sinners.
This is where the Pharisees saw this and they asked the other disciples…” Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus explains “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Then it is like Jesus said, be off with you and think about it. 😊
Jesus has his hands full today, sandwiched between a synagogue leader who needs him to lay His hand on his daughter, after she was dead, and perhaps she will live, and then a woman in the crowd, with no name, who has suffered for 12 years, came up behind him and touches the fringe of his cloak, Jesus knew what was in her heart, he knew it took a lot of courage and faith to touch him. “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”
The synagogue leader’s daughter did die, but Jesus laid hands on her by picking up her hand, and the girl got up. Jesus saw what was inside Matthew, not what was on the outside.
Like Abraham we can live into the promise of God in faith.
Paul the Apostle who wrote to the Romans, “The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Jesus saw the internal heart of Matthew and the potential he had, like Matthew, we can choose to follow Christ.
What if we were to look upon others with an eye for their internal potential rather than what they show externally?
We should always look toward people and believe in people who do not look like, we think they should look because, they could have enormous potential on the inside and it might be up to use to bring the goodness out.
Saint Paul says that our hearts have eyes: “with the eyes of your heart enlightened.” (Eph 1:18)
Jesus saw something in Matthew and asked him to follow him. Jesus, went from the sinners table, towards the wealthy and high-ranking Pharisees, to the poor and disgraced women, and He held the hand of the Pharisees daughter.
Jesus, never turned anyone away. He was a gentle and compassionate person. When He came into the world, there were no hospitals, few places of refuge for the poor, few homes for orphans. There were no hospitals to treat the mentally ill, no shelters for the homeless.
Jesus changed all that. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, open the eyes to the blind.
Led his disciples and taught his disciples, commanded them to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. (Matthew 19:19).
As Christians and the followers of Jesus, we can be in the likeness of Him and perform acts of kindness, love, and gentleness.
We will face obstacles and our circumstances will never be perfect, but we believe in God’s promises.
We can proudly follow him and spread the goodness, that God has led us to this place, where we can live out His promise to us, through our faith as we share our faith with others.
The Reverend Lola Culbreath