Intention: In this time of Lent, we may accept God’s invitation to change our hearts and ways and turn ourselves again to him.
Today’s Gospel | 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.”
A Lenten Reflection
The story of the call of Matthew provides a powerful lesson on how easily our biases and judgements can mire us in absurdity. Two groups of men, both consecrated to doing the will of a faithful and saving God, cannot understand why Jesus would absent himself from them and choose to be with known sinners. Jesus’ explanation was as eloquent as it was simple: because they are in need of care.
It is common for us to view life only through the lenses of our own ambitions and plans. We tend to forget, or perhaps reject, that each of us comes to this life with a purpose meant to transcend such limited perspectives. We all exist, both commonly and uniquely, in a single fabric of relationships where we discover and complete ourselves in our connectedness one to another. A person’s faith journey is about welcoming and absorbing this experience. As author and scholar Joseph Campbell once suggested, “Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life.”
Each of us is meant to be formed and animated by being part of our human family. If we live our lives insulated and disconnected from others, then we also become increasingly cut off from ourselves. Denying what we are called to do as God’s children can only causes us to lose touch with what makes us fully alive. Jesus taught much through his words, but he taught mostly through his choices. The time of Lent be calls us to realize that what we choose to do is also who we choose to be.
Eternal Father, each day we have the choice of acting either with faith and integrity or with arrogance and hypocrisy. Fill us today with the determination to turn away from pride and self-deceit. May we see without judgment the lives and the needs of others. In this time of Lent, help us to acknowledge and mend the faults in ourselves, and to serve you by helping to heal the brokenness of our world. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.