February 25, Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Isaiah 58: 9b-14; Luke 5:27-32
Levi’s conversion story is described in one simple sentence: ‘Levi, leaving everything, got up, and followed Jesus.’ This is the paradigm of ‘following’ Jesus. – give-up, get-up, and follow.
Levi was sitting in his tax-collection office (situation of sin as tax collectors made a lot of illicit profit). Jesus meets him where he is, extends an invitation to change his life and work. Levi leaves the money table (his job and earning), he leaves behind his sinful life (deny self), moves forward (take up the cross) and sits with Jesus (follow Jesus) at the banquet table of forgiveness (embraces a new life-style.)
Following Jesus requires sacrifice, commitment, and trust. It involves walking away from the familiar life-styles, habits and even people; it involves sacrifices and risks. But it carries with it immense blessings and riches of a different kind.
Is 58:11-12 (first reading) explains what it means to be with God and reassures us: “And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
And, like Levi was renamed Matthew, there will be change of name, change of work, change of friends. Following the path of Jesus will bring new friends, new company, new tasks and joyful banquets. Spiritual rewards and benefits are plenty for following the path of the Lord.
For Levi the tax collector accepting the invitation of Jesus to follow him meant leaving ‘everything’ – job, money, security – embracing the unknown to move around with Jesus who owns nothing. Where am I sitting; from where must I get up; what have to leave behind and how am I to follow Jesus?
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.