In this life, we never know and understand anyone perfectly. Even after living with someone for years, we can discover new things about them, for better or worse. Sometimes we are afraid of being fully known by others, because there are things about ourselves that we are not proud of, and we fear that if people really knew us, they would reject us.
With God, we never have to worry about that. The first reading today describes how God knows all creation perfectly; “everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to Whom we must render an account.” That would be intimidating, if it were not for what follows: God the Son, the Living Word, is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses”, having “been tested in every way, yet without sin.” He knows and understands everything about us, even those things which we ourselves cannot fully understand. And His reaction is one of compassion and love.
The Gospel reading illustrates this very well. Levi, also known as Matthew, was a tax collector for the Romans. As such, he was rejected by the religiously practicing Jews of his day and was in the same social group as prostitutes and other public sinners. Jesus sees him, knows him perfectly well, and calls him to be His follower. The Lord even goes back with Matthew to his house for dinner to meet his friends and bring them His message of conversion, forgiveness and salvation.
This is a great two-part lesson for us to remember. First, only God knows us perfectly, and He loves us and reaches out to us no matter what we have done. Secondly, we have to remember to apply that to everyone else around us. We can condemn bad behavior, but we don’t know what is in the hearts of other people. We should not fall into the same error as the Pharisees, who condemned both Jesus and the sinners He was evangelizing. We need to love sinners and, when possible, reach out to them, just as God does. Then, as the reading says, we can “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”