14 Jan 2017: The Call of Levi: God calls sinners.


Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Heb. 4: 12-16; Ps. 19: 8-15; Gospel: Mk. 2: 13-17

Jesus was tested and tempted like you and me in varied ways and yet remained as the true high priest of the nation (Heb 4:15). In today’s gospel Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector to be one of His disciples. Matthew is despised by people because he collaborates with the Roman government, the Jewish enemy, and they make their profit by extortion of collecting taxes more than what is required of the Roman law.

Jesus says to Matthew in today’s gospel: “Follow me.” These are the same words that Christ uses to call all His followers like us. There are no two disciples of the same background. All come from different backgrounds and all have different personalities and talents. Christ calls His followers from among sinners even the hardest of sinners. If we look at St. Matthew, he is a tax collector and the most disgraceful of sinners and yet Christ chooses him and looks beyond his sin. He read his heart and He sees a generous spirit willing to know and live the truth. And we must believe that it is Christ who calls and we must respond. This calling is popularly known today as vocation.

Vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, which means, ‘to call’ and this calling means the work we are called to by God.

There are different kinds of voices calling us to all different kinds of work and the problem is on how to find out which one of these voices, is the voice of God rather than that of the voices of the Society or the Superego or Self-Interest.

According to Frederick Buechner in his book, Wishful Thinking A Theological ABC (Harper San Francisco, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers, 1973, p. 95) said that a good rule for finding the voice of God calling us out is this:

  1. The kind of work God usually calls you to do is the kind of work that: A) you need most to do and B) the world most needs to have done.
  2. If you really get a checkout of your work, you have presumably met Requirement A, but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you have missed Requirement B. On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met Requirement B but if most of the time you are bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed Requirement A but probably are not helping your patients much either.

We here that God wants us to establish our identity in the fact that we are His children, created by Him to carry out good works as responsible people in His kingdom (Eph.2:10). This is our calling or vocation from God. According to Scripture, our calling is irrevocable (Rom.11:29) and is focused on eternal achievements, not merely temporal ones (Phil.3:134:1).

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