Scripture: 1st Reading: Is58,9-14; Resp. Psalm: Ps86,1-6; Gosp. Accl.: Ps95,7-8; Luke5,27-32
Our entire Christian lives are meant for one end or goal: to serve God and do good to others. Our Christian lives are intended by God for the alleviation of suffering, to bring peace, practise justice, show solidarity, express the noblest acts of love. Life itself is bereft of any meaning without these important goals of existence.
The word of God today makes us understand that our Lenten observance must be accompanied by concrete actions and interventions that change the lives of our neighbours. The word tells us that we must take away wickedness, feed the hungry, assist the afflicted, honour the day of the Lord and show authentic commitment to matters pertaining to our faith.
In other words, this Lent we must turn away from every stain of sin. We must stop all forms of selfishness, greed and self-centredness. We must stop thinking that the world belongs to us to use as we like. We must stop the utilization of the human person as if they were slaves.
The word challenges us to a rethink of what we consider to be true religion. It tells us that we deceive ourselves when we fail to recognize that true religion must always have a place for the neighbour. We fail whenever we think only of ourselves. In the sight of men we might appear successful, but not in the sight of God.
Our Lord spent His entire life calling humanity out of the life of sin to the path of righteousness. He pursued sinners with love. In today's gospel, He called Levi, the tax collector. He did not just call him. To demonstrate His total acceptance and forgiveness of this man, He went to dine in Levi's house.
That dinner became an opportunity for evangelization as many of Levi's "comrades-in-sin" came to celebrate with him and turn to our Lord. These sinners recognized their need of God. They wasted no time to come back. They grabbed the opportunity offered to them with both hands. They were saved because they knew the time of their visitation.
This Lenten day, the word invites us to reflect on our Lord's words that "those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick". It calls us to meditate on His promise and offer "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
This is His invitation to us today. He calls us to abandon every sin that debases us and our neighbour. He calls us back to the life of righteousness. He invitee us to follow Him. Like Levi, are we ready to listen to Him? Are we ready to leave everything and follow Him? Do we recognize this day as our opportunity for salvation?
Let us pray: "Almighty ever-living God, look with compassion on our weakness and ensure us your protection by stretching forth the right hand of your majesty." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.