Daily Reflection – Jan 16, 2016
Saturday 16 January 2016
First Reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1
Lord, your strength gives joy to the king
Gospel Reading: Mark 2:13-17
Today’s Note: Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Follow me. (Mark 2:14)
In today’s first reading, we meet Saul as he is anointed king over Israel. This handsome young man showed so much promise as he set out to serve God with sincerity. Yet when we recall how Saul ends up—a brooding, paranoid man who loses God’s favor—the story of Samuel’s surprising selection is bittersweet at best.
Fast-forward about one thousand years to Levi, a tax collector accustomed to cheating his own people to gain wealth and power. Yet as hardened as he may have been, he readily leaves it all behind to follow Jesus.
Such very different stories! One man followed God but then grew distant. The other was distant from God but then grew closer.
Clearly, the outcome of each of their lives was not dictated by the way they began. Saul’s story shows that no matter how godly you begin, there is always the risk that you will step out of God’s path for your life. You have to keep listening to the Lord and obeying his call. On the other hand, Levi teaches us that no matter how steeped in sin you are, you can still step onto the path of God’s life. It’s never too late to come into a relationship with God. So whether you begin well or begin badly, repentance is always available, and your Father will always welcome you.
What is God’s will for you? This question doesn’t belong just at the start of our relationship with the Lord; it’s something we should ask every day. Staying in touch with him is the only way to be sure we won’t stray onto our own path and end up distant from him and his grace.
So reach out to the Lord today. Listen for his voice. Don’t be afraid to put aside your own plans if you find that they lead you away from God. What Levi learned and Saul forgot is that only grace can bring us to God and keep us close to him. That’s why Reconciliation is considered a sacrament—it’s a powerful channel of God’s grace. It’s the grace to bring us back to the Lord so that we can get on the right path once more.
“Lord, I offer you all my shortcomings, sins, and fears. Help me to walk forward, trusting in your mercy and grace.”