Accounts of cheating in High Schools, Universities, Businesses, etc. are appearing constantly on TV and in daily Newspapers. The methods and opportunities have increased over the years, but I remember in my own high school days of classmates bragging about how they aced a test with outside help.
The prophet Amos is condemning the businessmen of his days for the way they hope to get ahead by using false weights and measures. The methods of skimming payments and padding bills may have changed from the prophet’s time but dishonesty in the work place remains today.
In our Gospel we read about Matthew who had the ideal job for taking advantage of the vulnerable in scandals of taxation. Whether if or how deeply involved he might have been in the shady practices of his day only Matthew and God will ever know. But it seems to me little by little he must have become totally disgusted by what he knew was going on around him. Guilty or not, his job by association gave him the reputation of being a cheap thief and traitor to his own countrymen.
His decision to follow Christ cost him dearly. He gave up a very profitable occupation. He no longer had employment. His future security was gone. Would people accept him knowing of his past? Would he be totally ostracized by his honest neighbors? That was the risk he was taking.
In every decision, something is usually sacrificed for something gained. It’s amazing how often an eternal prize is won when a material treasure is relinquished. Matthew was rewarded with the intimate friendship with the Son of God. A new and glorious reputation was acquired. By using his skills as composer and author, his name is immortalized in the whole world by virtue of the Gospel of Matthew. Finally, an eternal life of peace and happiness became his reward in the Heavenly Kingdom.
It’s better not to shy away from sacrifices whenever we hear Christ calling us; “Come follow me.” It may be costly and painful temporarily. However, like in the case of Matthew, Jesus has planned the rewards he has in store for those who take the risk of responding to his invitation.
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