9 March 2019. Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Reflection (Sem. Richard Anthony Lim)
As a seminarian in a seminary for late vocations, I could not help but admire Levi’s actions in today’s Gospel. Although generally hated for being a tax collector and working for the Romans, Levi was probably already financially secure before he met Jesus. And yet, he left it all to follow him. And he even celebrated this by gathering his friends so they too could meet him. I could imagine that his life as disciple would not have been easy. The prejudice against him would not disappear overnight.
In the seminary, every seminarian has also left everything behind to follow Jesus and be formed as a priest. I sometimes feel insecure among the brothers because most of them have had long years in serving the Church before entering the seminary. I, on the other hand, have spent the same amount of time away from the Church. But the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I too have come to discern his call to follow him. Levi’s story is a reminder for me that it is not our background that matters to Jesus, what matters more is how we respond when he calls. And our response is not a one-time thing. It is a daily habit of surrender to him who gave us his all.
The Gospel Today
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.