Saturday after Ash Wednesday 2022
Luke 5:27-32 https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/030522.cfm
OUR FRIEND, LEVI (MATTHEW)
Have you ever had a problem you were trying to figure out or were looking for an answer to something? For the life of you, nothing ever came. The more you thought about it, the more frustrating it got. So you gave up and got on with your day. Then, out of the blue, it dawned on you. It became so clear. Your confidence returned as the frustration was dissolved.
That is pretty much what happened to Levi, who Jesus named Matthew. Levi was sitting at his post collecting taxes from people. Of course, he was despised, and it didn’t bother him. He had a cushy life. Then, out of the blue, here comes Jesus. Two words change his life, “Follow Me.”
Matthew wasn’t in deep prayer, doing works of mercy, or preaching on a street corner. Instead, he was going about his business – extortion. He was robbing the poor of the little they had so that he could get ahead. Jesus caught him in the act, as it were. Matthew’s heart was poor, dirt poor. And the innocence of Jesus in him let him know it. His heart was much poorer than those who begged for food after leaving his tax table. I pray for people who can’t afford their rent these days and have to move out.
But something strange happened. Matthew didn’t feel guilty or worthless. Instead, he felt so much love in his heart; it was like there was no one else in the world. Matthew found this so strange. All that money, all those friends he had at the other tables meant nothing to him now. He couldn’t stay, so he pushed aside the table of money and walked down the road with Jesus. It happened when he was in the act of extortion.
Don’t be surprised if you hear a quiet voice inside when doing something that offends God. Jesus is walking up to your table and loving you with His big, merciful heart. Listen for those words spoken with so much tenderness, “Follow Me.” Push away that table and walk down the road with Jesus.
IGNITE THE FIRE
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC