This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
In his most recent Lenten message, Pope Benedict wrote that “Christians are people who have been conquered by Christ’s love.” It is His love for us that attracts us towards Him.
Jesus saw a tax collector and said to him, “Follow me.” In today’s Gospel passage, St. Luke offers his readers no stunning arguments, no attractive incentives, and no remarkable deeds for Levi’s sudden and abrupt career change. That’s it. And maybe there’s a reason for it. Maybe, that’s all there needs to be.
Levi knew who he was. He knew what he was doing. And yet, for the Lord, it didn’t matter. There’s something important that St. Luke wishes to communicate to us, and that is: Love conquers all things.
Levi was swayed not by Christ’s words or philosophy, but by Christ’s invitation, which is an invitation to love as He loves. This caught Levi by surprise, really by surprise. Love catches us by surprise! It caught Levi by surprise, and the only way to respond to it is with humility.
Like Richard Dawkins, I am sure our tax collector had experienced sex before. But I doubt he had ever experienced love before. Well, know he did and He got up and followed him.
People who do not get us do not get this! How could anyone leave everything? How could anyone be happy like this? Good questions. Actually, very good questions. And you would hope that those who do not get us would actually ask us. But they never do. Instead, they hope to avoid others from following Him by simply ridiculing Him and His followers, and prostituting the world with offers we could never refuse! They need to fill God’s presence, his grace, with mace.
Levi was a new man. Following up on the Lord’s invitation, he drafted his own invitation in honor of the Lord. He “gave a great banquet for the Lord in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.” Imagine the site! Converts are a sight. Only Christ is capable of bringing the oddest of characters together, including foes. Only Christ could bring Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity together. Only Christ could bring Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich together! Christ’s table is filled with those who are politically to the left and to the right, Kings and peasants, rich and poor; who are enemies!
Christ conquers all things, including sinners. His love, dignity, compassion and strength continue to conquer even today. All it takes is humility: to acknowledge someone who loves better than I do; cares more than I do; and who has more faith in me than I do.
Calling all sinners to God. Resolution: I will invite someone to come to Church this Sunday. If they say “yes”, great! If they say “no”, it’s not your fault. You did what you were supposed to do. You gave an invitation.
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