Faith Daily | 15 January 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 526
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
13 Jesus went out again beside the lake; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14As 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.
15 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. 16When 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?’ 17When 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: Contributed by: Debbie Pringle
Capernaum was a town of about 1500 people. It lay on the Via Maris, one the great trade routes of the world that ran between Damascus and Egypt. Taxes and tolls were charged for travelling, trading and on merchandise.
Tax collectors were hated and despised, especially by the Jews. Unlike Zacchaeus, who was in the service of the Romans, Levi was probably working for Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, a cruel, feared and resented leader. Tax collectors lined their own pockets with the excess that they were able to extort. They were usually wealthy people, but lived on the edge of society. They were considered by Jews to be unclean and were not allowed into the synagogue; neither were they allowed to be witnesses in court.
Levi was the other name for Jesus’ disciple, Matthew. (Matthew 9:9). He may have heard Jesus preaching. He almost certainly would have heard about Him. When Jesus called him, he immediately left everything (Luke 5:28) to follow Him.
Levi was so thrilled to be accepted by Jesus, that he gave a great feast to celebrate and to introduce Jesus to his equally socially unacceptable friends.
Levi gave up his old life, his job, his wealth and earthly security, but gained friendship with Jesus, forgiveness for his sins and everlasting life. He wrote the Gospel of Matthew, in which he recorded Jesus’ words about storing up treasure in heaven and not on earth. (Matthew 6 19-21) By following and obeying Jesus, this is what Levi did. May we do the same.
FINAL PRAYER: From the Book of Common Prayer
O Almighty God,
whose blessed Son called Matthew the tax collector
to be an apostle and evangelist:
give us grace to forsake the selfish pursuit of gain and the possessive love of riches
that we may follow in the way of your Son Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.