Saturday, March 4, 2017
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,
rebuilders 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
When he went out after this, he noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting at the tax office, and said to him, 'Follow me.' And leaving everything Levi got up and followed him.
In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?'
Jesus said to them in reply, 'It is not those that are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have come to call not the upright but sinners to repentance.'
• Today’s Gospel presents the same theme on which we reflected in January in the Gospel of Mark (Mk 2, 13-17). But, 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. Immediately, 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 communion of Jesus with sinners, around the table, which was a forbidden thing.
• Jesus did not come for the just, but for sinners. The gesture of Jesus causes great anger among the religious authority. It was forbidden to sit at table with tax collectors and sinners, because to sit at table with someone meant to treat him, consider 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 Scribes of the Pharisees speak with the disciples: Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? And 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!” The consciousness of his mission helps Jesus to find the response and 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/Mother who accepts and embraces.
4) Personal questions
• Jesus accepts and includes the persons. Which is my attitude?
• Jesus’ gesture reveals the experience that he has of God the Father. Which is the image of God which I bear and express to others through my behaviour?
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)