Introduction: In Luke 5:27-32, is described the call of Levi (Matthew) to follow Jesus. The criteria that Jesus uses to choose his disciples is unconventional, totally contrary to the practice of the day, and what people expect from him. But he makes it clear to everyone that he has come to minister the sick, the sinner and those who need a doctor. Could this be you?
1.Read: read the text of Luke 5:27-32 slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
2.Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
3.Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
4.Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
5.Take now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: In the calling of Levi, Jesus breaks the cultural and religious stigmas of the time; it comes as a surprise for most of the pharisees who considered themselves pure and law-abiding Pius Jews, they saw Levi as betrayal of his own people and religion by imposing tax laws, ordered by the Roman Empire, and for working for foreign powers. He gained his riches cheating and stealing from his own people. Why Jesus called Levi knowing who he was?
Central Message: “He noticed a tax collector… and said to him ‘follow me’. And leaving everything he got up and follow him” … “In his honour Levi held a great reception” … The Pharisees said: “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners”.
a) “He noticed a tax collector and said to him ‘follow me’. And leaving everything he got up and follow him”. Jesus knew exactly who Levi was, from the moment ‘he noticed him’ he entered his life and began to change it. Perhaps Levi knew Jesus already for some time because of the crowds gathering around him whom Levi followed for the convenience to collect the taxes from them at the spot. Surely, he also heard Jesus’ words that something could have stayed deep in his heart. So, when the time came to meet Jesus and asked him to follow him, he did not hesitate at all to accept the invitation. It was as if he was waiting for it long ago for having the desire to change his life. A desire that can only come from God. He must have seen something bigger than his wealth in Jesus to have left everything to follow him. It was well worth it! Wouldn’t you do the same?
b) “In his honour Levi held a great reception”. There was such a joy in Levi’s heart that he had to celebrate his call, his new life, his new vocation. He prepared a great reception, a banquet for his special guest who turned to be his new Master and Lord. No more the Roman Emperor, but his King and Saviour Jesus. There was a large gathering of tax collectors who were invited to the party too. The Pharisees stood from far watching what was happening and making their own judgements about all these people who for them were all sinners. Therefore, they thought that Jesus the Son of God, should not have come into contact with them for becoming contaminated. They were scandalized, indignant and perplexed for invited such a sinner to be his disciple. Jesus been aware of their thinking broke the protocols of the Jewish religious practices of the time for only one reason: to bring salvation to Levi and sinners “I have come to call not the virtuous but sinners to repentance”. This event is parallel to the one of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), who celebrated his conversion bringing Jesus to his house where he said, “today salvation has come to this house”. So, it was not only to Zacchaeus but the entire family who got such a grace from our Saviour.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- Who would that be another Levi in today’s world?
- How would you feel about the calling of Levies and not you?
- How would you respond to the call of Jesus? Would you leave everything and follow him?
- How would you celebrate with Jesus your call?