Saturday after Ash Wednesday – 17 February 2018
Isaiah 58:9-14, Psalms 86:1-6, Luke 5:27-32
Show me Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth.
Isaiah 58:9-10: “If you take away from the midst of you the yoke,
the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your darkest hour will be like noon.
Luke 5:32: “I have come to call not the upright but sinners to repentance.”
Isaiah makes it abundantly clear that it is our service to the poor and the weak that wins God’s favour, not lifeless religious practices. The message becomes most meaningful in modern society, marked by unfair distribution of resources, hatred, violence, abuse and mutual accusations. It is only when we strive against such evils that we win God’s approval. “You shall be like the watered garden” the prophet says. The image stands for the possession of every good thing that we desire.
The Gospel speaks of the call of Levi. His joy was so great that he could hardly contain it.
He organised a party for his fellow tax-collectors, which unfailingly earned the criticism of the Pharisees. Jesus’ answer was that His mission was precisely to wrongdoers, to the least and the lost. These words indeed offer us hope when we stray and urge us to reach out to others as Jesus did.
That is the Christian calling, that is the Christian ‘job’!
(Archbishop Thomas Menamparanpil SDB – Gods Word)
Don’t you wonder what it was about Levi that moved Jesus to call him? And what was it that caused Levi to respond?
He must have been a pretty successful man in economic terms but as a tax collector, he was undoubtedly not popular in his own community and was seen as a collaborator with Rome. Perhaps he had a nagging sense of “there must be something more to life”. perhaps a sense of emptiness and sadness. Something touched him so deeply at Jesus call, that he let go of a previous way of life and opened himself instantly to the gift being offered. He was overjoyed, he was filled with joy, he was joyous, he bubbled over and threw a big party in order to share his joy! And Jesus attended the party! He was at the party! He is at our party too when we allow Him entrance to our hearts.
When asked who he is, Pope Francis responded “I am a sinner, whom the Lord has looked upon.” When we are able to see ourselves as Pope Francis does, as loved sinners, we are open to receive the forgiveness and help God longs to give us. When we are aware of ourselves as sinners, loved and called by God, we respond with a deep sense of repentance, gratitude and joy, we throw that party and invite other sinners to join us. We simply have to share the joy!
Where do I experience my own sinfulness?
How is this awareness a gift?
Spend some time with Jesus today sharing with Him your struggles and Your need of His help.
Have a party with Him!
(excerpt Fr Nicholas King S.J. ‘The Long Journey to the Resurrection’)
My soul, what have you done for God?
Look o’er your misspent years and see;
See first what you have done for God,
And then what God has done for thee!
Daily Lenten Prayer
Today Lord, I choose life,
I choose Your love
and the challenge to live it and share it,
I choose hope, even in moments of darkness,
I choose faith, accepting You as Lord and God,
I choose to let go of some part of my burdens,
day by day handing them over to You,
I choose to take hold of Your strength
and power ever more deeply in my life.
May this truly be for me a time of new life,
of change, challenge and growth.
May I come to Easter with a heart open to dying with You
and rising to Your new life, day by day.