Right after Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him, He has dinner at Matthew’s house. I had never noticed this before; I always thought it was a separate story. At Matthew’s house, it says, “ many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.” (Mt 9:10) It struck me that these people would not have been able to get to Jesus in the Temple – they were outcasts and rejected. So, instead, Jesus went to where they could reach Him and they came in crowds, eager to see. Then I was startled to realize that He did this for all of us – for me. He became human so that we could reach Him, in a way that we can connect with him and even identify with Him, and understand in a better way that He identifies with us. Maybe I should invite Him to dinner….
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 at 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 sinner?” 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.” (Matthew 9:9-13 NAB)