Friday, February 20, 2015
SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
February 21, 2015 SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Is 58:9b-14 / Lk 5: 27-32
[St. Peter Damian (1001-1072), a Benedictine monk, wrote on the liturgy, theology and morals.]
Reading: Is 58:9b-14
If you remove from your midst the yoke, the clenched fist and the wicked word, if you share your food with the hungry and give relief to the oppressed, then your light will rise in the dark, your night will be like noon.
Yahweh will guide you always and give you relief in desert places.
He will strengthen your bones; he will make you as a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt, the age-old foundations will be raised. You will be called the Breach-mender, and the Restorer of ruined houses.
If you stop profaning the sabbath and doing as you please on the holy day, if you call the sabbath a day of delight and keep sacred Yahweh's holy day, if you honor it by not going your own way, not doing as you please and not speaking with malice, then you will find happiness in Yahweh, over the heights you will ride triumphantly, and feast joyfully on the inheritance of your father Jacob you. The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.
Gospel: Lk 5:27-32
After this Jesus went out, and as he noticed a tax collector named Levi, sitting in the tax-office, he said to him, "Follow me!" So Levi, leaving everything, got up and followed Jesus.
Levi gave a great feast for Jesus, and many tax collectors came to his house and took their places at the table with the other people. Then the Pharisees and their followers complained to Jesus' disciples, "How is it that you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? "But Jesus spoke up, "Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. I have come not to call the just, but sinners to a change of heart."
In only two verses, today's Gospel reading describes the call of Levi and his immediate and unconditional response to the invitation of our Lord to follow him. There being no background description of Levi preceding these verses, except his being a tax collector, most of us, would find it very difficult to understand or accept this action of Levi because in our present times, no tax collector would have responded as he did to the same invitation. However for a Jew, to be a tax collector in Palestine during the first century is synonymous to being a great public sinner and therefore an outcast from Jewish society as well as a traitor to the nation. The people knew that the taxes they paid not only went to finance the extravagant lifestyle of Herod but also to the coffers of their hated Roman overlords. Therefore to be a tax collector is to be ostracized by Jewish society and without any hope of salvation.
The gospel is quiet about the inner disposition of Levi. But by putting ourselves in the shoes of Levi with all of his insecurities, guilt, and loneliness despite much material wealth, what would we feel and how would we respond if a well known and highly respected rabbi is to invite us to be part of his inner circle? What can this prophet or probable "Messiah" see in each one of us to be so honored as to be chosen to be one of his close companions?
Furthermore, knowing that in so far as sinfulness, guilt and insecurities are concerned, we know that we are no different from Levi. So we may also apply these questions to ourselves as we reflect on our response to the promptings of our Lord in our daily activities. Can we do so affirmatively and unconditionally like Levi or not?
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
GIRLIE E. DUENAS
GREGORY NOAH NAZAL KAW
IRENE CORAZON S. VICEDO
IRENE LEE B. EREDIANO
ANITA & GODFREY LIM PEK CHUAN
ED & JOJO TANHUI, M.D.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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