Faith Daily | 14 January 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p526
who anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit
and revealed him as your beloved Son:
inspire us, your children,
who are born again of water and the Spirit,
to surrender our lives to your service,
that we may rejoice to be called your children;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 2: 13-17
Jesus went out again beside the lake; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples — for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘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.’
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev’d Graham
I recall from my younger days, a young fellow at a youth camp who seemed to be the instigator of harmless trouble. When asked why he acted this way, he replied, “Love God and do as you like.” This prompted a question as to how it could possibly be the case. His response made an impact on those who heard him, “If you really love God, then you will only do what you know God would like you to do.” I only wish I could have remembered this more often.
Jesus’ action in calling Levi to follow him and then eating with him and the others would have been seen by the religious as scandalous. Levi with other tax collectors were seen as notoriously dishonest and continuously in contact with Gentiles. But it did not stop Levi from doing what he saw was right. Doing what God would like us to do certainly did not stop Jesus, who did not discriminate against those people outside the “norm” from inviting them to be with him.
How often have we rejected or ignored others because they were different from what we considered the “norm”? In working with indigenous students for a number of years, among other things they have unknowingly but thankfully taught me, there are two aspects of life which I have learnt from them. One was the intimate involvement of God the Creator within nature and with all of creation; the other was the need for patience, and its positive outcomes. It’s amazing what we can learn from those we consider different from us when we approach them in love at the same time as we try to fulfill Christ’s call to us to serve.
The passage for today has so much for us to relate to. I wonder if Jesus’ last statement could have a hidden message. Could the “righteous” be the ones who are acting in the “right” way, and have already answered, and continue to answer the call? Could the “sinners” be the ones following the letter of the law and rejecting Jesus’ example and teachings of love, and continue the need to answer the call when they hear it?
by whose grace alone we are accepted
and called to your service:
strengthen us by your Holy Spirit
and make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen