Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Visual For Today's Gospel

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.”

Luke 5:27-32

I love Caravaggio's work, and this one and this Gospel are good items to ponder. There aren't a lot of positives about Matthew/Levi anywhere in Scripture. He was a sinner. As was Peter. As was Paul. And so forth. As are we.

We forget that a lot, though. Not the part about others being sinners. We typically have zero problems recalling that. Ourselves? We are immaculately conceived and the swellest folk that God ever ordained to walk the earth.

We all deserve hell. All of us. It is only through an act of extraordinary and supernatural mercy that God forgives us, so much so that we can partake of His own divine nature. Yet we have people who can proclaim that sin is abolished by the authority of the Pope himself (as if such a thing were possible) and be taken seriously.

Let's ask the Holy Father about sin:

“This thing can happen to all of us,” he said. “We are all sinners and we are all tempted and temptation is our daily bread. If one of us said: ‘I never had a temptation’, either you’re a cherubim or a bit stupid, no?” 

 “Struggle is normal in life and the devil is never calm, he wants his victory. But the problem - the most serious problem in this passage - is not so much temptation and the sin against the 9th commandment, but how David behaves. And David here does not speak of sin, he speaks of a problem that he needs to resolve. This is a sign! When the Kingdom of God is lessened, when the Kingdom of God decreases, one of the signs is that the sense of sin is lost.”

Judgment for our sins will come. May God grant that we have responded like Matthew rather than Judas.

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