February 21, 2015

The Gospel Today

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

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.”
Reflection (Sem. Brandon Bahayanan):

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”

In today’s Gospel, I am drawn to share my meditation on the questions, “How can I become compassionate, merciful and loving?.Am I willing to take the challenge in reaching out to people cast out because of rough, inhuman and unfair treatment?” We remember that in the Gospel today there are two groups: the one who rigidly kept the law and all its petty regulations, and the rest who didn’t keep all minute regulations. Those who didn’t observe the law were treated second class citizens.  Those who observed the lawpainstakingly avoided their company, refused to do business with them, refused to give or receive anything from them, and avoided including table fellowship with them.

It’s not fair to give others cold shoulder even if they are stubborn in following laws, rules and regulations. I think from what Jesus did, associating with the unloved (tax collectors and sinners) should not shock our sensibilities why Jesus called and picked the unlikeliest of men despised by others to be with Him.

Jesus will always be in favor of those who needed a doctor to help them with their sickness. That’s the same with our life.The healthy people do not need a doctor to visit them; instead the doctor goes to those who are sick.  Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person — body, mind, and spirit.  Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life.

Putting this image in my situation today, I ask myself the questions, Did I grow according to what God expects of me – a compassionate seminarian, a merciful son, and a kind and loving friend? How do I show mercy and compassion to others? Did I sow kindness or was I indifferent of the needs of others? Did I permit God to form me in order to be an instrument of compassion and mercy? Was I selfish because I didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like me? Was I so preoccupied with my own practice of religion and self – care that I neglected to help the very people who needed the greatest care?

My prayer is for God’s Word to grow like a seed within us and guide us to gather not only those lovable people but also those unlovablepeople in the community, myfamily or our families and circle of friends.  Furthermore, I should be a sower of God’s mercy. I must go where God leads me and serve the people without asking anything.

I also pray that the Lord Jesus would grant me the grace that I may spread His truth, compassionate and merciful love wherever I go.

“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love.  Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood.  Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit.  Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence.  Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself.”  (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430)

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