Jesus Calls Levi
Most of us have experience with change – changing jobs, moving, living a healthier life, etc. Each change required us to do things differently – not the way we have always done them. In this reading, we see varying degrees of change:
• As a tax collector in Capernaum, Levi enjoyed a fairly comfortable lifestyle. He had no reason to change, but when Jesus said “Follow me,” he followed. Levi’s life changed forever.
• The Pharisees were fasting and keeping the traditions. Even though they had witnessed many miracles and good works, they still could not let go of the past and questioned why Jesus was eating with the tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees’ life did not change.
• John’s disciples were fasting and keeping the traditions. Even though they believed in the source of Jesus’ miracles and good works, they could not let go of the past. They believed Jesus was the Messiah, but still practiced many of the old traditions (i.e., fasting), seemingly holding on to the past and the future. The Disciples’ life changed, but maintained the traditions.
Jesus tried to open their eyes to the knowledge that He was only with them for a brief time (like a bridegroom) and He needed to help those who were ill – who needed change. He knew that it would be easy for them to slip back into the ways they had always done things. He did not do away with the traditions, but gave them new vision and purpose for their lives.
Stepping Out in Lent – Change is not easy and usually comes with a price. Some have argued that of all the disciples, Levi gave up the most. Peter, Andrew, James and John could go back to their boats, but Levi literally left all to follow Jesus – no turning back. What has Jesus asked you to change from the way you have always done it?
Author – Laura Ethridge retired in 2015 and became a semi-retired self-employed consultant whom God has blessed with the flexibility to volunteer in several areas at St. Peter’s and spend time with her wonderful nephews, Brooks and Jonathan.