Hearing God’s call during Lent

Homily for March 12, Saturday after Ash WednesdayClick here for the podcast file.

Today’s short Gospel reading is one of my favorites – not because it is short, but because I have always been inspired by the event it describes: the way that Jesus calls Levi – also known as St Matthew – to follow Him.

Levi was no one special by most standards; if anything, he was considered worse than most, because he collected taxes for the Romans. But Jesus saw him and loved him anyway, and called him to be one of His disciples. Fortunately, Levi recognized the divine authority, love and forgiveness in Jesus’ voice, and responded immediately by leaving his past behind to follow the Lord.

He treasures the gift that Jesus has given him, and hosts a great banquet at his own expense to honor Jesus and to help his friends and colleagues to meet the Savior. The self-righteous Pharisees and scribes don’t approve, but Jesus shows with His presence at the dinner and with His words that even when we are far from God, God is never far from us.

This is wonderfully comforting and encouraging! God knows all of our sins and weaknesses, and He loves us anyway and comes out to meet us wherever we are, to invite us to follow Him more closely. If we have the humble attitude of Levi – reflected also in the psalm today – we can be sure that Jesus will stay with us and help us to be better, holier Christians. The first reading reminds us that true holiness consists above all in putting aside our own interests to do God’s will, showing others the same mercy, generosity and charity that God Himself has shown us.

Of course, this is largely what Lent is about: hearing again, like Levi, the voice of the Lord calling us to follow Him; forgetting our selfish interests; listening to Jesus’ teachings; and sharing our gifts with others. Levi became St Matthew the Evangelist; who knows what God wants to do with us? May the experience of these forty days of Lent be the occasion for a permanent growth in holiness in all our lives.


About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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