Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him. (Luke 5 :27–28)
In calling Levi–also known as Matthew–Jesus invites a man of bad reputation to become his disciple. Indeed, publicans, who collected taxes for the Romans, were seen as traitors, men who got rich off the backs of the poor of Israel. This didn’t stop Jesus who only sees a human being in need of God’s love if he is to be transformed. From a static, rigid position, seated at his desk, Levi gets up and walks: he is resurrected to a new life.
Living Lent during this pandemic doesn’t seem easy to me. Isn’t this lockdown a kind of Lenten season that doesn’t seem to end? It’s true, if I equate Lent with “doing penance,” then Lent began long before Ash Wednesday this year. However, if I understand Lent as an opportunity to leave a static and rigid spiritual position to engage more deeply in following Jesus, these forty days could truly lead to a resurrection.
Abba, Father, as he heard the words of your son Jesus, Levi heard your call. He recognized in these words the possibility of a new beginning, of a dynamic life following Jesus. Grant me the generosity of heart to respond like him, whatever my past or my present may be. Help me turn to a future renewed by your presence and your love.