March 5, 2022
by Nicky Santos, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community and Business School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 222

Isaiah 58:9b-14
Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Luke 5:27-32

Praying Lent

What Is Fasting and Abstinence?

Stations of the Cross

In today’s gospel reading, we have the story of the calling of Levi, a tax collector. We do know that tax collectors during Jesus’ time were despised by the Jewish people. But here comes Jesus, who reaches out to Levi, inviting him to join him. Levi’s joy knows no bounds as he leaves everything and follows Jesus. I was curious about his throwing a lavish banquet in his house after he left everything. But this banquet could be a celebration of the love and acceptance of Jesus for him and for those like him who were despised and treated almost like outcasts.

As we enter the season of Lent, Levi’s story reminds us of the all-embracing love of our God. While no one is excluded, there is preferential love for the sinners, for those on the margins of society, for those rejected and abandoned. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to have this same preferential love for the poor, the disadvantaged, the vulnerable. The Pharisees and scribes were concerned that Jesus was being contaminated by his association with tax collectors and sinners. Instead of being contaminated, Jesus’ love was contagious and brought about wholeness and healing. May each of us this Lent throw a lavish banquet in which we feast on the love of God, for all, but particularly for those who are despised and rejected.

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