January 18, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time 

Mark 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Reflection (Sem. Mark Ian Abu):

     Today’s Gospel presents to us Jesus’ call to discipleship and His reminders for His followers. We all know that Jesus chose the twelve apostles from the many people who were following Him. He did not appoint them depending on what they have or what can they give but rather He called them from their simple way of living in order to learn from Him. Today we hear Jesus calling Levi, also known as Matthew, to be one among the Twelve. Levi was a tax collector, a known sinner, before he knew Jesus. He was in the customs post when he heard Jesus telling him; ‘Follow me’. Immediately Matthew stood up and followed Him. In the latter part of the Gospel, Jesus told the Pharisees that He came to call sinners and not the righteous. This expression explains clearly that Matthew was called to be a disciple of Jesus. Despite of the former’s identity as a public sinner, Jesus still chose him to be one of His closest friends, formed and transformed him, and later on was sent to spread the Kingdom of God.

     We have many similarities with Levi and so it is also very possible that Jesus can call us to be His followers. In Levi, we can see our being a sinner, a vulnerable person who from time to time falls into temptations around us. There are times that we are in our customs post seemingly very proud of our sins and ignoring the conditions of the people. But we should be always aware of everything that is happening in us. Without us noticing it, Jesus may already be calling us to leave everything and follow Him.

     The call to discipleship is not only for priesthood and religious life; it is also a calling for everyone who is willing to offer their whole self for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Like Levi, Jesus will also form and transform our hearts like His and will prepare us to be sent to other people in order to share the goodness of God that we receive being His disciples.

 

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