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Saturday, March 4: Jesus calls sinners to follow him

Gospel Reading:   Luke 5:27-32

 

After this he went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he left everything, and rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house; and there was a large company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

 

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 58:9-14

 

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.  "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 gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong;  and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;  you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. "If you turn back your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable;  if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;  I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

 

Meditation: When your neighbor stumbles through sin or ignorance, do you point the finger to criticize or do you lend a helping hand to lift him or her up? The prophet Isaiah tells us that God repays each in kind. When we bless others, especially those who need spiritual as well as physical and material help, God in turn blesses us. When Jesus called a despised tax collector to be his disciple he surprised everyone including Levi (also known as Matthew). The religious leaders were especially upset with Jesus' behavior towards public sinners like Levi. People in Palestine were divided into roughly two groups: the orthodox Jews who rigidly kept the law and all its petty regulations, and the rest who didn't keep all the minute regulations. The orthodox treated the latter like second class citizens. They scrupulously avoided their company, refused to do business with them, refused to give or receive anything from them, refused to intermarry, and avoided any form of entertainment with them, including table fellowship. Jesus' association with the latter, especially  with tax collectors and public sinners, shocked the sensibilities of these orthodox Jews.

 

 

"Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence.  Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself."  (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430)

 

 

From www.dailyscriptures.net

Added on Saturday, March 4, 2017


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