February 13, 2016 (Saturday)

St. Catherine de Ricci

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Is 58:9b-14 • Ps 86 • Lk 5:27-32



27Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” 28And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. 29Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. 30The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. 32I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”


In its present literary context, “leaving everything” means leaving the tax house behind, symbolic of Levi giving up one occupation to take up another. The Greek word translated as “followed” is in the imperfect tense. It is better rendered as “was following,” to underline the continuing nature of the act.

Levi then gives a “great banquet” for Jesus in his house. The great banquet given by Levi is a concrete expression of his “following” of Jesus. Levi, also known as Matthew, is later among the chosen Twelve named as the apostles (cf Lk 6:13-16).

The Pharisees and their scribes are scandalized that Jesus has table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus explains the purpose of his association with sinners, that is, to invite them to repentance.

Jesus brings us hope that our sins are not a hindrance for us to come to him; in fact, they are the very reason why Jesus comes to us.


When we forgive, we become divine.

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