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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When Levi meets Jesus, his whole life changes. He leaves everything behind and instantly follows when Jesus calls. We read similar accounts about the other disciples, so much so that it might seem easy or commonplace to us: someone meets Jesus, turns their life upside down, and follows him. How often do we really reflect on the enormity of those decisions? As a tax collector, Levi might have been scorned by the Pharisees, but he occupied a place of wealth and privilege in his society. Giving up a predictable, comfortable life to follow Jesus into the unknown must have taken incredible courage. Levi was humble and honest enough to admit his need for a Savior.
As I begin my Lenten journey, what is Jesus asking me to do? Am I prepared to follow Jesus with my whole heart like Levi? How is Jesus calling me to healing, repentance, and discipleship?
—Maggie Melchior is a convert to the Catholic faith. She currently serves as Coordinator of New Evangelization and Faith Formation for a parish in the Diocese of Green Bay.
Surrender your own poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.
—Thomas MertonPlease share the Good Word with your friends!