Saturday, February 17, 2018
1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God, merciful Father,
when You call us to repentance,
you want us to turn to people
and to build up peace and justice among us all. According to Your promise,
let us become, with Your strength,
lights for those in darkness,
water for those who thirst,
re-builders of hope and happiness for all.
May we thus become living signs
of Your love and loyalty,
for You are our God for ever.
2) GOSPEL READING - LUKE 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners."
Today s Gospel presents the same theme which we reflected upon in January in the Gospel of Mark (Mk 2:13-17). This time, it is only the Gospel of Luke which speaks and the text is much shorter, concentrating its attention on the principal supper which is the call and conversion of Levi, and what the conversion implies for us who are entering into the time of Lent.
Jesus calls a sinner to be His disciple. Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector, and he immediately left everything, follows Jesus, and begins to form part of the group of the disciples. Luke says that Levi had prepared a great banquet in his house. In the Gospel of Mark, it seemed that the banquet was in Jesus’ house. What is important here is the insistence on the communion of Jesus with sinners, around the table, which was a forbidden thing.
Jesus did not come for the just, but for sinners. This gesture of Jesus causes great anger among the religious authorities. It was forbidden to sit at table with tax collectors and sinners, because to sit at table with someone meant to treat him as a brother! With His way of doing things, Jesus was accepting the excluded and was treating them as brothers of the same family of God. Instead of speaking directly with Jesus, the of the Pharisees speak with the disciples: Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus answers: It is not those that are well who need the doctor; I have come to call not the upright, but sinners, to repentance! His consciousness of His mission helps Jesus to find the response to indicate the way for the announcement of the Good News of God. He has come to unite the dispersed people, to reintegrate those who are excluded, to reveal that God is not a severe judge who condemns and expels, but rather He is Father who accepts and embraces.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
Jesus accepts and includes people. What is my way of accepting people?
Jesus’ gesture reveals the experience that He has of God the Father. What is the image of God which I bear and express to others through my behavior?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Listen to me, Yahweh, answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard me, for I am faithful,
save Your servant who relies on You. (Ps 861-2)