January 16, 2021 (readings)
- Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
- Elizabeth Stromberg
Once again he 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."
Opening Prayer: Call me, Lord. Heal me, for I need you. Do not simply walk along the shore of my life, but enter into my home and into my heart.
1. The Shore: “Once again” Jesus walked along the sea. The crowds that came to him received teaching, healing, and often a call to mission. So often we can be stuck, sitting still, lost in the world of our own problems. But Christ is never still. He is always coming toward us, seeking us out. Yet, he doesn’t impose himself. He walks along the shore of our life awaiting an invitation from each of us. He wants to bring us wisdom, healing, and a sense of mission and purpose.
2. Follow Me: Levi, also known as Matthew, was considered a “public sinner” because he collected taxes for the Romans, who ruled over the Jewish people. A famous painting, The Call of St. Matthew by Caravaggio, has St. Matthew pointing at himself as if he is saying, “Who, me?” Sometimes we wonder when we see a problem, “Why does no one do anything about this?” or “Someone should say something.” Today’s Gospel is an invitation to ask ourselves, “Who, me?” Christ often calls us to say or do something, but we defer or reject the call because we feel unqualified. Levi was a public sinner, yet he became a great saint. When we feel compelled by the Spirit to act, we trust in the fact that God always equips the called.
3. “I Came to Call Sinners”: St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians speaks of this mystery of Christian life: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). When God called us to be his apostles, he didn’t just ask us to give him our strengths and talents, but also our weakness and brokenness. He is the Divine Physician. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Jesus wants us to serve him with all that we are and have, both the good and the bad, through our weakness and our strength.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, I ask that today you take all that I am and all that I have. Come more deeply into my life. I don’t want to leave you standing on the outskirts. I want you to enter into my heart. Come, use my weaknesses and brokenness to do great things in me. I believe that with you I can do all things. Be with me today Lord, and let me follow you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to listen attentively and respond promptly to what you ask.
For Further Reflection: 33 Days to Merciful Love by Father Michael Gaitley is a great resource for reflecting on God’s mercy using Scripture and the writings of St. Therese.
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