Saturday 20 February 2021

A holy exchange


Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him. In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

LUKE 5:27-32


Levi leaves the place of custom, the office of financial exchange. He is an associate of an occupying force and, as a tax collector, is seen as a bit of a sinner! Today though, in that custom house, he has a very different kind of exchange with Jesus – an invitation given and received, the currency of love. And so Levi exchanges his former life for a different future, leaving behind everything, and welcoming Jesus and others into his home. The gathering is large. Meanwhile the Pharisees and their scribes are at large too, dropping words of criticism, exchanging judgements. They wonder why Jesus is bothering with such people, and so they ask him outright. The exchange of words continues. He sets our his mission before them. If sinners are sick they need a doctor. If the tax collectors of the day are suffering from a moral malaise they need a healing balm, That’s why Jesus came, and so he mixes with the mad and the bad, the sad losers, the waste of timers. He draws close, sees into our hearts, offers us an invitation, a holy exchange of love.


God our Father, may we hear the words of Jesus calling us each day to follow him, and may our lives be continually transformed by your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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