Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Mk 2: 13-17
The Gospel texts of yesterday and today portray a conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. Yesterday the conflict was about the forgiveness of sins; today, Jesus was criticised for his kindness to sinners. This particular passage of the Gospel of Mark was a response to what was going on in the Christian communities between the Jewish Christians and those other Christians converted from paganism. The Jewish Christians found it difficult to sit at the same table with the pagan converts. Mark therefore gives a solution to that problem by presenting Jesus as an example. If Jesus who is God, our Saviour sat and ate with the tax collectors and sinners, what about us who are sinners?
The pedagogy of Jesus is more practical. He did not just eat with tax collectors and sinners and allow them to continue in their lifestyles but he came to their level in order to lift them out of the condition in which they were. That is why he presented himself as a physician. He is the only physician who has the means to heal them from their sins. Just as the sick goes to the doctor, only those who acknowledge their sins can receive healing. All humanity is sick with sin, and it is a deadly disease that leads to death. God welcomes sinners, and calls them all. He does not want anyone to perish, but desires that all should come to repentance.
From a tax collector; a sinner according to the Jewish society, Jesus made Levi his disciple, a strong and powerful proclaimer of the Good News. Levi who is also known as Matthew; the one to whom the first Gospel is attributed became a powerful proclaimer of the good news of the gospel. What a beautiful image! Jesus, in coming to earth, knew what he was coming to do – to gather the lost sheep of Israel – “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus calls us to heal us, to make us whole, to transform us from sinners into holy children of God. Levi started out as a tax collector, but he became Matthew, the apostle of Jesus, one of the Twelve.
The question one can as himself or herself is, when was the last time I went for confession? And how far am I sincere in my confession?
Let us pray
Lord Jesus though you were in the form of God, you did not count equality with God but emptied yourself, taking the form of a servant; and being found in human for form you humbled yourself and became obedient unto death. Grant us we beseech thy the virtue of humility; through Christ our Lord.