13 He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
«I did not come to call the righteous but sinners»
Fr. Joaquim MONRÓS i Guitart
Today, Saint Mark tells us how Jesus taught and how the crowd came to Him. In those days, they were as hungry of doctrine as we are today, ignorance being always our worst enemy. Let us not forget the expression: «They will hate no more when they ignore no more»...
As He walked along, Jesus sees Levi, son of Alpheus, sitting in his office and, says to him: «Follow me» (Mk 2:4), and Levi leaves everything and follows Him. With his promptitude and generosity Levi scored his biggest “business”. Not only the “business of the century”, but the business of Eternity, too.
It would be worth our mulling over Roman tax collectors, who ceased to exist a long while ago, while Levi —better known today as Matthew— keeps piling up profits with his writings, as one of the twelve pillars of the Church. This is what happens when we promptly follow our Lord. He said: «And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life» (Mat 19:29).
Jesus accepted the banquet Matthew offered Him and His apostles at home, together with other tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees —who always seemed to prefer witnessing how others worked— felt like informing His disciples that their Master was eating with people they considered as sinners. The Lord hears them and, in self-defense, He answers: «I did not come to call the righteous but sinners» (Mk 2:17). Mankind is in hard need of that divine Healer. We are all sinners and, as Saint Paul says, «for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God» (Rom 3:23).
Let us always answer as quickly as Mary used to do when responding to Her vocation as co-redeemer.