stop the famine
"Yes, days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine upon the land: not a famine for bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the Lord." —Amos 8:11
St. Matthew was a tax collector who resembled those in today's first reading who longed to cheat for profit (Am 8:4-6). Nothing has changed in human nature since Amos prophesied. Individuals and corporations continue to exploit people and the land through power plays, shady deals, cheating, and the like in order to make money. Matthew also lived to make money, as that's what Jews who collected Roman taxes from their own people did. Matthew was a Jew; his Jewish name was Levi (Lk 5:27).
You cannot serve both God and the things of the world (Mt 6:24). The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tm 6:10). A lifestyle rooted in pursuit of worldly riches can result in a famine for hearing the Word of the Lord (Am 8:11). Jesus issued a call to Matthew, saying "Follow Me" (Mt 9:9). Jesus speaks to us and calls us personally. His Word, spoken and written, has the power to lead us to salvation (Rm 1:16). His Word is alive and reaches deeply into our hearts (Heb 4:12-13).
It's unlikely that any faithful Jew in Capernaum could have ever imagined that Matthew (Levi) would ever change from money-loving to God-serving. Nonetheless, Jesus can convert anyone at any time through His Word. Therefore, spread the Word of God at all times (2 Tm 4:2ff). Maybe the Lord will use you to convert a big fish like Matthew.
Prayer: Father, use this booklet to bring many thousands of people to spread Your Good News to the ends of the earth.
Promise: "Matthew got up and followed Him." Mt 9:9
Praise: St. Maria prayed for her murderer to have a change of heart and eventually he did, even being present at Maria's canonization ceremony.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 27, 2018
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