After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Three distinct and perhaps contradictory themes emerge from this short passage: simplicity, extravagance and healing. Levi suddenly embraces a life of austerity, leaving everything behind to follow Jesus. A tough pill to swallow: I find myself less eager to abandon my own comforts and security.
But wait: Levi hasn’t really abandoned all of his stuff, one might say. He’s put it at the disposal of Jesus and those he’s come to serve. What a great banquet!
It’s too easy, though, to simply say that my stuff is good so long as I use it for others. (I have a cluttered basement that would argue differently.) Rather, Jesus invites us to conversion, to heal our broken relationships with material comforts and security.
We are called to live intentionally, to take what we need, recognizing that all things are God’s things—and God’s things are for all people.
—Eric Clayton is a senior communications manager at the Jesuit Conference.
Lord Jesus, open our hearts so that we may continually turn to you. May this conversion make us more aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters around us, so that we can respond generously to their needs out of love. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!