Faith Daily | 16 January 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Baptism of the Lord
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 Peter Galbraith
In this rendering, and in Luke’s Gospel we have Levi sitting at the receipt of custom. Matthew in his Gospel identifies Levi with himself.
A lot of water seems to pass under the bridge between verses 14 and 15, including unrecorded conversations. It is interesting to speculate. Matthew/Levi no doubt had a regular presence in his seat and would likely have seen Jesus walk by on previous occasions. They may have been nodding acquaintances. But this day was special, and following his invitation to follow, at some point Jesus and his current followers were invited for dinner. Was Levi curious to find out more about this teacher before committing fully to His invitation?
What we do know for sure is that there was a mixture of dinner guests. The Pharisees, surprised that such an event would even take place, seemed to visualise the kind of occasion where there would be a ‘sinners table’, a ‘righteous persons table’ and so forth. Jesus had no such divisions in mind, being aware that his dinner companions had all “sinned and come short of the glory of God”, some being more aware of it than others. We are reminded of the Pharisee in the parable who thanked God loudly and sanctimoniously that he was better than other men.
Mark’s description serves as another reminder that God looks within and not at outward trappings, a message that is repeated many times in the Gospels. Here Jesus could see into the minds of all present and knew there were those who sought his forgiveness and healing power, no matter what clothes they were wearing. He was and is there for them, then and always.
FINAL PRAYER: In finding God's Presence in everyone and everything
God, kindle Thou in my heart within
A flame of love to my neighbour,
To my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all,
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall,
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth
To the name that is highest of all.
(Ian Bradley, The Celtic Way)