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Lord desires mercy, not ritual sacrifice

Background Music: Panalangin
    Written by: Mark Anthony Cuevas
    Voiced by: Shirly Benedictos

September 21, Thursday, Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Daily Readings: Ephesians 4:1–7, 11–13;  Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13

Many tend to associate holiness with piety and sinlessness. They revere as saintly those who are prayerful and who are without sin. Those who are considered sinners or whose way of life is morally repugnant are often condemned and avoided. The righteous should not eat with them. Eating with them can be scandalous.

This was the common attitude during the time of Jesus. The tax collectors were reviled for being greedy and corrupt; hence, sinners were often ostracized. St. Matthew, whose feast we celebrate today, was a tax collector.

The religious leaders were scandalized when Jesus called Matthew to be his apostle and ate with him at a dinner he hosted for his friends. When Jesus was asked why he did it, his answer reflected his compassion for sinners. What the Lord desires is mercy, not ritual sacrifice.

We need to examine our attitude towards sinners and those whose behavior we consider morally repugnant. We should not be so self-righteous as to condemn and marginalize them as if they do not deserve a place at the table of the Lord—in the Eucharist.

What is expected of us is to be merciful. Without mercy, our participation in the sacrifice of the Mass is not pleasing to the Lord. For those of us who are aware of our own sinfulness, let us always remember that the Lord is forgiving and merciful.

He calls us to change our lives and undergo a process of personal conversion. Although we may feel unworthy, he calls us to follow him as his disciple and friend.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.