The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 12
13 Jesus went out again beside the lake; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.I have a friend who takes this passage very seriously. When she invites you to dinner, you never know who will be there: the recently fired weather man, the new single pastor, the homeless men working on her yard, people from her congregation. She never worries about what her house looks like or what she will have to eat. She opens her table and her heart to everyone she encounters. The wine flows freely, the coffee is bold, and the food in nourishing. The conversations flows freely about politics, religion, worries of life, and the laughter. There is always joy at her table.
15 And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. 16When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 17When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’ Mark 2:13-17
Jesus while out teaching sees Levi. Jesus sees what there is beyond his outer occupation - tax collector. A man who makes his money by adding to the top of the tax bill. So people looked at Levi and see someone who cheats them and collaborates with the Roman Empire. Jesus perceives more in Levi, he sees deep in his heart, Jesus looked inside and invited Levi to follow.
Levi after this encounter invited Jesus to dinner where his friends are fellow tax collectors and sinners. The religious folk want to know why he is eating with this undesirable group of collaborators, cheats, and sinners. They want this dawning kingdom to look to them as the pure ones, the ones to eat with and hang out with. Jesus says to them that he came for the unwell, the unrighteous, the ones who need his healing presence.
We are invited o open our tables and our hearts. We are to eat with strangers, with the undesirable in our community. We are to break bread and share wine and laughter. We are to see God's dawning kingdom in these faces we are eating with. We are to bring the healing presence of God close. So take and eat. So take and drink. The kingdom of God will draw near.
As you sit down to pray today as God to show you who you should eat with. While breathing out think about someone you could invite out for coffee or a meal. Someone you don't normally hang out with. Let God guide you to the person who needs your presence. Amen.
Thank You for Healing Me Sinead O Connor