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.”
5:27 tax collector: An occupation despised by many Jews.
5:31 a physician: A familiar analogy used by Jewish and Hellenistic teachers. For Jesus, it explains his ministry of extending mercy to outcasts (CCC 1503). those who are sick: Jesus’ table-fellowship scandalized certain Jews, such as the Pharisees. Enjoying the company of those considered “unclean” implies that God opens the doors of mercy to everyone, pious and sinners alike (Mt 5:43–48; CCC 545, 588).
5:32 not … to call the righteous: Jesus did not come to perpetuate Old Covenant standards of righteousness, which were designed to separate Israel from the sins and uncleanness of their Gentile neighbors (Lev 20:26). Jesus brings a new standard of righteousness that tears down the wall that barricades Israel from other nations, as he stretches the boundaries of God’s covenant family to include everyone in need of mercy, even tax collectors and sinners.
This passage of the Gospel shows us that a vocation is something about which we should be very grateful and happy. If we see it only in terms of renunciation and giving things up, and not as a gift from God and something which will enhance us and redound to others’ benefit, we can easily become depressed, like the rich young man who, not wanting to give up his possessions, went away sad (cf. Lk 18:18ff). Matthew believes in quite the opposite way, as did the Magi who, “when they saw the star, rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Mt 2:10) and who gave much more importance to adoring the new-born God than to all the inconveniences involved in travelling to see him. How do you view your vocation?
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.