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The Call

First Reading: Isaiah 58:9B-14

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with maliceB
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (11ab) Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

Gospel: Luke 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

NAB

feb 13

What was it about Jesus of Nazareth? What was it about Him that made fisherman walk away from their boats, the life they knew? What was it about Him that made a self-seeking, well-off tax collector walk away from all his riches and comfortable life for completely unchartered territory?

Was it His simple attire? Was it His muddied feet, weary from journey? Was it His physical resemblance to the common folk, His mother, Mary, or the ordinary dialect in which He spoke?

No, those things wouldn’t have caused Him to stand out in the crowd; on the contrary, He would have blended in beautifully, unseen by the man whose eyes were fixated on the financial plentitude in front of him.

So why, Levi, why, Matthew, did you leave it all for a two-word command that promised no regality or prominence? If not for the reasons the senses can perceive, then why?

Surely, then, you must have beheld in Jesus of Nazareth the light rising for you in the darkness. In those two words, you must have acknowledge His guidance. He must have given you plenty, even on the parched land of your dehydrated heart. He must have renewed your strength, rebuilt the ancient ruins in your soul, repaired the breach, and made you ride on the heights of the earth.

In two simple words, Jesus, the Nazarene, must have shown Himself to you as your Savior, your friend, your resurrector.

And you followed.

Sisters, what do we see when we look at Jesus? Do we take Him for what our weary eyes behold, or do we allow His gaze to penetrate our hearts? Do we ask Him to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah within our own lives? Do we look up from gathering and counting our possessions in order to hear His command?

Do we follow Him?

photo by Jenna Wilber

Olivia Spears is a middle school religion teacher turned SAHM who is married to her high school best friend. You can find out more about her here.

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