The Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio Chapel,of the Apostolic Nunciature, Delhi, 21 September 2017

Jesus looks at Matthew and he awakens something new within him, something that he did not know. The gaze of Jesus makes him feel an interior wonder, and makes him hear the call of Jesus: “follow me”. It only took a moment to understand that look had changed his life forever. And it is in this moment that Matthew says yes, leaves everything and goes to the Lord.

The first moment of the encounter, which consists of a deep spiritual experience, is followed by a second experience: that of celebration. The Gospel continues with Jesus sitting at the table with publicans and sinners; those who were rejected by society andthe Lord feasts with sinners.

We can refer to Luke’s Gospel where it clearly says that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance. This is why the celebration is very important, because the encounter with Jesus and the mercy of God should be celebrated.

But life is not one big party: there is a time for celebration, but then there must be daily work, fueled by the memory of that first encounter. It is the memory of mercy and of that celebration that gives Matthew, and everyone who has chosen to follow Christ, the strength to go forward and this must be remembered forever.