SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
Reading 1: Is 58:9-14 Isaiah describes in vivid terms the glory of a sinner who has allowed the Lord to restore his heart. He will take delight in the Lord and the Lord in him.
Gospel: Lk 5:27-32 Jesus is accused of associating with tax collectors and sinners, and he in turn gives his reasons for preferring their company.
SABBATH: A DAY TO WORK FOR THE LORD
In the first reading, God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, tells Israel the proper understanding of the Sabbath. The point of the Sabbath is not so much to rest, but rather, a day to do the work of God instead of our own work. God tells his people: ‘honour it by not following your ways, or seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice.’
The true spirit of Lent, fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, is also embodied in this idea of turning our back on our own interests. This does not mean that one should take 40 days of leave in order to serve the poor during Lent. We only need to seize upon the numerous opportunities that come our way in our everyday life, and to do this we need to cut down to some extent the pursuit of our own interests.
How easy it is to follow our own pursuits! Even many who claim to follow God do so only after serving themselves. Jesus said to Levi, “Follow me.” How easy it would have been for Levi to have cleaned up his work and collected all the money sitting out on the table, thus, first taking care of his own priorities before getting around Jesus?
But, instead of telling Jesus to wait, without a thought, ‘leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.’ The miracle recorded today is that Levi forgot about the work he was doing. He forgot about the money he had collected. He forgot about whoever was next in line at the customs post. He forgot about his own interests and followed Jesus. Well, not everyone can drop what he/she is doing to follow Jesus. Not everyone, but some can. Could you, like Levi, forget everything, leave it all behind and follow Jesus? Perhaps you are already where you belong, and what is left is to wake up every day and follow Jesus by doing your work with great love.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 86:1-6 Teach me, O Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth.
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