The call of Levi

MK 2:13-17

Manila Bulletin - - Editorial -

JE­SUS went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Al­phaeus, sit­ting at the cus­toms post. He said to him, “Fol­low me.” And he got up and fol­lowed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax col­lec­tors and sin­ners sat with Je­sus and his dis­ci­ples; for there were many who fol­lowed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eat­ing with sin­ners and tax col­lec­tors and said to his dis­ci­ples, “Why does he eat with tax col­lec­tors and sin­ners?” Je­sus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physi­cian, but the sick do. I did not come to call the right­eous but sin­ners.”


FOL­LOW ME. Je­sus’ in­vi­ta­tion to the tax col­lec­tor Levi to fol­low him, then his shar­ing a meal with sin­ners, raises an ob­jec­tion from some scribes and Pharisees: “Why does he eat with tax col­lec­tors and sin­ners?” Tax col­lec­tors at the time of Je­sus are marginal­ized in Jewish so­ci­ety and are con­sid­ered traitors be­cause they col­lect high taxes for the for­eign con­querors (the Ro­mans) while en­rich­ing them­selves in the process.

Je­sus, how­ever, has a dif­fer­ent stan­dard in look­ing at peo­ple. His at­ti­tude can be de­scribed in two im­ages: a good shep­herd who seeks out the lost, and a physi­cian whose vo­ca­tion and mis­sion is to heal those who are spir­i­tu­ally sick— the sin­ners.

The ways of the Lord are dif­fer­ent from our ways. His norms do not iso­late sin­ners from the right­eous. This chal­lenges our stan­dards in choos­ing friends. What Je­sus does in the Gospel in­vites us to fol­low his ways of deal­ing with the marginal­ized in so­ci­ety.

All peo­ples from ev­ery status, cul­ture, or race are called to fol­low Je­sus daily.

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philip­pines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Web­site: http://

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