The heavens declare the glory of God…
Psalm 19 : 1
Go, and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.
Matthew 9: 13
. . .
I am glad I will not be called upon to give a homily today. Although I am certain that a clever preacher would easily find common themes in the readings for the feast of St Matthew, I am not that clever. Psalm 19 is a particular favourite, partly because it begins with the witness of nature and ends with the testimony that is the law. God reveals.
And what does God reveal? God, of course. In the person of Jesus, who says such provocative things as ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’. If I were writing a homily (or even if I were simply less tired) I would chase down the places where that sentence is repeated in Matthew’s gospel, and show how it subverts the usual uses to which the most famous bit of Matthew 18 has been put. The richness of creation, the glory of the heavens, the beauty of the Word made flesh, all point much more certainly (or so it seems to me) to the plenitude of the seventy times seven than to the exclusion of anybody.