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The call of Levi

Gospel Reading: Mk 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. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 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 he 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.”

Jesus’ invitation to the tax collector Levi to follow him, then his sharing a meal with sinners, raises an objection from some scribes and Pharisees: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Tax collectors at the time of Jesus are marginalized in Jewish society and are considered traitors because they collect high taxes for the foreign conquerors (the Romans) while enriching themselves in the process. Jesus, however, has a different standard in looking at people. His attitude can be described in two images: a good shepherd who seeks out the lost, and a physician whose vocation and mission is to heal those who are spiritually sick—the sinners. The ways of the Lord are different from our ways. His norms do not isolate sinners from the righteous. This challenges our standards in choosing friends. What Jesus does in the Gospel invites us to follow his ways of dealing with the marginalized in society.

All peoples from every status, culture, or race are called to follow Jesus daily.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.