The gospel reading of Luke 5:27-32 begins with the call of Levi. We also see in this gospel the call to change our lives. How?
Levi was a tax collector, but when Jesus calls him today, Levi leaves everything and follows Jesus. Because of this, Levi held a great feast in his honour. In this feast, we see Jesus eating with tax collectors.
The Pharisees begin to accuse Him of eating with sinners. To this, Jesus responds, “I have come to call sinners to repentance and not those who are righteous”.
How Jesus calls Us To Change Our Lives.
Levi is a well-known tax collector before His call.
As a tax collector, he collects unpaid taxes from the people. During the time of Jesus, these set of people are reviled and hated by the people.
The gist is that the Jews, as of that time, were under Roman dominance. So they pay taxes to Rome. Tax collectors collect these taxes. They sometimes add more money to the fixed taxes people are required to pay. They use this opportunity of collecting taxes to extort people of their hard-earned money.
So, the tax collectors amass great wealth through this. The people know about this.
The tax collectors are despised, hated and seen as the worst sinners for this reason. It was this type of life that Levi was enjoying, but immediately Jesus calls, his life changes from a tax collector to an apostle. It shows that no enjoyment can stop anyone from accepting Jesus.
In this Lenten period also, Jesus is calling us to change our lives. Jesus does this through daily Lenten messages, bible readings, reflections, words of advice, etc. Jesus is telling us that it is true that we are truly comfortable with how we have been living our lives, but nothing surpasses more than to be his apostle.
Levi, who was a tax collector, transformed to be an instrument of touching souls for God. In the same manner, Jesus wants to see us change.
What does it profit a man if he enjoys and gains the whole world and loses his soul at last (Mark 8:36)? What does man achieve after extorting people, taking advantage of them because of financial gain and selfish desires and yet at the end of his life, he discovers that the world is nothing?
Where will our soul be if we are to die today? So, Jesus is calling us to change. It is the reason He has come.
All Has Sinned.
In this Lenten season, the church is reminding us to come back to God. Jesus tells the Pharisees that He has come only for the sinners. Those who do not need Jesus are they, who like the Pharisees, deem themselves as righteous.
No one is righteous, and if no one is, then we all need Jesus. We need Jesus.
Others need Jesus. That weakness in me, and you need His divine touch.
It is also a call that Jesus is ready to forgive you again despite your past. Therefore, do not conclude that God cannot forgive you. Now is the time to come back to God and seek His face.
How To Change.
If we want to change, we have to do these things that Levi did.
1. When Levi met the Lord and heard His voice, he obeyed Him and even made a feast for that. We need the presence of Jesus in our lives.
Give Him the chance to occupy your hearts. So, when you hear Him talk to you in the silence of your heart, never disobey Him.
Allow also the words that we read and hear every day take deep into our hearts. The change occurred in the life of Levi, immediately He hears the voice of Jesus and obeys. The call to change our lives is the call to obey God. Our change comes when we take His word very seriously and keep to it.
2. The life of Levi was a comfortable one. He was making His money. In the past, He was in a high position and enjoyed great fortune.
Despite these, He left them at once. To truly change the way we live, nothing should take the place of Jesus in our lives.
3. Levi’s response was immediate. It was a prompt response. Levi did not postpone it to tomorrow or next week.
Therefore, we should not postpone our response to God indefinitely. So, quit delaying the day of your reconciliation with God. Jesus needs that immediate response from you.
Hence, do not delay that peace talk you are supposed to have with someone. So, quit postponing that good thing you want to do for somebody. So, once it is something between you and your Creator, let it come through that hunger that comes from the heart.
4. Levi left everything. He did not leave a single thing. He abandoned His profession and luxury life. What sinful life can we abandon? We have to sacrifice everything that will draw us away from God, even if it means your friend who always causes you to sin.
5. We have to come after Jesus. Hence we have to be like Him, learn from Him and follow in His footsteps. Therefore, like Jesus, we have to be close to God, always in communication with Him, humble, peaceful and faithful to God.
The call to change our lives is the call to embrace Jesus again. The calling to change our lives is the time to tell God, “ I am sorry”. It is what the Lenten season is calling us to do. What then could be our response to this call?
May God bless you dearest, forgive us our sins and give us the grace to remain close to Him. Amen