We are all sick. And the sickest thing of all is that we never want to admit that we are sick. Do we not hear that “true love is blind?” Yet we spend millions on plastic surgery, hair transplants, botox and other things designed to mask our weakness. We are all broken to one degree or another and yet we all still hide it. This physical and emotional poverty is real. Even a life at the YMCA can’t cover this up.
The wound goes deeper still. We are spiritually and morally sick. All of us. You and I both are in need of a spiritual physician and yet we so often do not want to admit it.
Today, St. Matthew writes about his own conversion experience. He is a tax collector- not a public servant, but a representative of the oppressive foreign regime. Matthew is at the lowest of the low. Here comes Jesus, full of power and mystery, and he totally disrupts Matthew’s life. Matthew does nothing to attract attention, he is sitting down and Jesus says to him, “Follow me.”
What was in those two words to make Matthew follow Jesus? What was in those two words to make Matthew the tax collector become St. Matthew- author of the first Gospel? What did Matthew hear?
More importantly we should ask, “Jesus, why don’t you call me like you called Matthew? Call me from the midst of my ordinary life, my sin, my habits of sin that I can’t seem to stop. Call me from my sickness, Jesus the Divine Physician!”
Where do we meet Jesus the Divine Physician? We meet him in confession. There is no more perfect, more ready way to meet the healing of our souls than in confession. I was visiting with some non Christian men recently and they asked me, “Father, have you gotten to do the good stuff yet? You know, exorcisms, stuff like that?”
My answer shocked them. “Exorcisms? I’ve done better than that.” They leaned in close, “I’ve heard confessions.”
There is no better way to meet the Divine Physician than in confession. The priest speaks to us- not you, but me as well-the priest speaks to us in the person of Jesus. As Jesus forgives us- not just you, but us- he says the same words he said to Matthew, “Follow me.”
The Church tells us we need to go to confession at least once a year. Although if you only NEED to go once a year, pray for me because I NEED to go every two weeks. Every two weeks I admit that I am sick and I seek out the Divine Physician. I call one of the other priests in town and ask if I can drive over. I am sick and I need the Divine Physician.
Remember the beauty of Matthew’s conversion. Remember the inspiring love of Jesus. Remember Jesus desires to give us his mercy. And do not forget to remember that we are sick, all of us. Then, in confidence, let us turn to the Lord.