Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Hymn to the conviviality

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Mt 9,9-13

The first lines of the today’s gospel present to us the call of Matthew, apostle and evangelist: these are short words, almost gaunt, for a quick scene, crossed by the grace of God as by a lightning flash. Soon after, a beautiful hymn to the conviviality begins: the joy of the sharing the table with the next, with all those who come and who have the pleasure of being with us. Almost always by sitting around a dinner table and eating  together the ideal condition to talk is created, to bring down barriers and prejudices and to be able to speak spontaneously. When eating, in fact, we satisfy the more natural primordial need, one which we share with the animals and even which, a fortiori, unites us to our peers. Here, then, the propensity for the judgment which is not always benevolent, gives the way to the desire to listen to the other, accepting him for what he is and feeding us of benevolence, in addition to the food. With the open heart we become, then, able to recognize the true treasures of goodness and generosity which very often are hidden in the life of the so-called “sinners” and, by talking freely, we enrich one to another without even having the intention. This is the secret of the comfortable homes, where the one who come feels welcomed and he is invited to sit at the table, because his presence is considered a gift.

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