Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew, and our Gospel tells of his conversion. Matthew’s laconic account details what the transition from spiritual death to spiritual life is like. First, we notice the look of Jesus. If there is one theme clearly stated in the New Testament it is that of the primacy of grace.
Why? We don’t know. We just know that we will not lift ourselves to spiritual wholeness. A gaze has to come upon us from the outside—not so much finding God as allowing ourselves to be found.
Jesus says to him, “Follow me.” There is nothing simpler or more basic in the Christian life than this. This is what we disciples do: we follow, we walk after him, we apprentice to him. “He got up and followed him.” The symbolism here is marvelous. Getting up, rising up—anastasis, the same word used to designate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Conversion (turning around) is also elevation, rising up.
To come to Christ is to come to a higher, richer, broader form of life. Now life is not simply the pleasures and goods of the body; now life is lived in and through God.