I am amazed at the way you look at Matthew (Levi) in today’s Gospel,
calmly, peacefully, mercifully.
As Pope Francis says,
your look must have been strong and gentle
to pierce and move his heart,
beyond his sense of being an outcast, traitor, sinner.
Your look changed his life.
I long to be looked upon in a similar way, yet I resist your glance.
I fear your judgment, just as I project my own self-rejections
when I look into another’s eyes.
I see my unworthiness, smallness, deep resistance.
There is a spirit that mutters within: “You’re not __ enough;
You are never enough to be accepted, forgiven, loved like that.
Look at your past mistakes and hurts, your hypocrisy and self-reliance.
Look at your foolishness, how you risked being seen in the past,
how people ran away, how you hid to lick your wounds,
how you turned away even after you’ve experienced genuine love.
Stay with the status quo; it is easier.
Surviving is safer!”
Yet, you beckon me to follow you, Lord.
Lately, you’re looking at me like you never have before,
more deeply, tenderly, mercifully.
You nudge me to see people around me likewise,
beyond appearances, beyond sin, beyond failures and unworthiness,
beyond status and rank, beyond what they have done or failed to do.
Jesus, Lord, Friend, Companion
help me to turn and embrace your look.
especially when I receive the Eucharist or go to Confession.
Draw me with your gaze and guide me with your peace.
Heal me, free me to new life and hope.
So I can believe that a traitor can become a friend,
that a tax collector can become a servant,
that a sinner can become your beloved disciple.
So that I might look at my sisters and brothers,
especially those who feel excluded or abandoned,
with your tender and merciful gaze.
Help me take 5-10 minutes today,
to simply let you look at me the way you look at Matthew.