The Gospel Today
Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
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. Carmelo V. Pocdol)
“We’ll follow You, we’ll go wherever you go, we can’t invent a different way, for You are the only way. The choice is ours to make, so we decided to follow You.”
This is a line from the theme song of the National Youth Day that I joined in 2001 at Lipa City, Batangas. Thousands of young Filipinos gathered to celebrate their faith in Jesus and to affirm their individual responses to the invitation of Jesus: “Follow me.”
I remember this experience because of its impact on my personal response to follow Jesus. It became an affirmation that He called me to serve Him in the youth ministry in the parish, and eventually in the diocese. The invitation later turned to be a challenge on how to live the teachings of Jesus as a young servant, who, despite my limitations and brokenness, can journey with young people and bring them closer to Jesus Christ, through prayers and service in the Church.
The invitation is from Jesus Christ. It is very clear, “Follow me”. It is God’s initiative, that He wants me to be close to Him and to live my life to the fullest despite my sinfulness and unworthiness. I always say that it is not about me, a sinful and unworthy servant. Rather, it is about God who is full of mercy. As today’s Gospel puts it, “I do not call the righteous but sinners.”
May my answer to the loving invitation of Jesus, “Follow me,” be strengthened, so that I persevere in this priestly formation that comes from God.