After this Jesus went out, and as He noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax-office, He said to him, «Follow me». So Levi, leaving everything, got up and followed Jesus. Levi gave a great feast for Jesus, and many tax collectors came to his house and took their place at table with the other people. Then the Pharisees and their fellow teachers complained to Jesus' disciples, «How is it that you eat and drink with tax collectors and other sinners?». But Jesus spoke up, «Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. I have come to call to repentance; I call sinners, not the righteous».
God doesn’t wish that we do extraordinary things, except if we are given extraordinary talents. In any case He wishes that we act humanly with a certain amount of humanity, which is proper to and in our own capacity. The Lord has taken time to prepare Peter and the Apostles, and He prepared them in a different way. There is no comparison between Peter and Paul, because both of them were called to do the same mission of the Lord, in a different way and to a different people. In our own humanity, we can become light of the world.
In both cases (Peter and Paul) the past is not a condition to follow Jesus, but become very useful in the accomplishment of the mission. I will explain this for you. God doesn’t ask us to look at the past, rather invites us to fix everything in Christ, and follow him. If the past is a cross, He wishes that we carry them with us, because the same cross may become a means for God to use in and through us, to accomplish the mission. Saint Paul could be the best example for us.
Today is the day of conversion, the day to get up and follow Jesus. Let’s have courage to give up certain behaviors which block us to follow us and to our surprise, we will be honored, by Jesus coming and dinning with us, in our own home. He will make our home pure and holy, not only through our conversion, but by His very presence, to the envy of the elites in our society. Do we have the courage to listen and apply the demands of the Lord immediately?
Action of the Day: Have courage and follow Jesus.
«I have come to call to repentance; I call sinners, not the righteous»
Fr. Joan Carles MONTSERRAT i Pulido
(Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today we see how Lent is moving forward and the strength of the conversion our Lord summons us to. The figure of the apostle and evangelist Matthew is very representative of those of us who think that, because of our background, or because of our personal sins or complicated life, we are unworthy of our Lord.
Well, no, we are not; to remove any doubt we might still have, Jesus Christ is offering us the possibility of following him, as He did with the first evangelist, Levi the tax collector, to whom He simply says: «Follow me» (Lk 5:27). With him Jesus does exactly the contrary of what a “sensible” and “wise” mentality would do. If today we wish to pretend being “politically correct”, Levi —instead— came from a world where he was openly rejected by all his compatriots, as he was considered, just because of the fact he was a publican, and a helper of the Romans and, possibly, as much of a corrupt by the “commissions” he might receive, who indulged in choking the poor to collect their taxes; in short, he was considered a public sinner.
Those considering themselves as perfect, could not even think of Jesus not only not requesting them to follow him but not even asking them to his own table.
However, by choosing Levi, Our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us that it is rather this kind of people whom He prefers to call to expand his Kingdom; He has chosen the sick, the sinners, those who consider themselves unworthy: «Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong» (1Cor 1:27). For these are those who need help, and as such, they will also understand those also in need.
We are not to think God wants spotless and immaculate followers to serve him. That privilege belongs only to Our Mother. But for us, subjects of God's eternal salvation and Lent's protagonists, God wants just a contrite and humble heart. In fact, «God has made you weak to give you his own power» (Saint Augustine). This is the type of person who, as the psalm says, God would not despise.