Saturday, 19 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Scripture passages reminded us of this great Lord, Master and High Priest that we have in our midst, that is Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God Most High, Who has come into our world, born of His mother Mary, to be our Saviour, bringing God’s truth and salvation to all of us, His beloved people. And it is His desire that all of us mankind, sinners who have been separated from Him, should be liberated from those sins and be saved.

Today, in the Gospel passage we heard of the moment when Levi, the tax collector, was called by the Lord to follow Him. Levi listened to the Lord, and left everything behind, following Him to be His disciple. The conversion of Levi was a significant event, as it revealed even more of God’s intentions for us, His mercy and loving compassion for each and every one of us. God wants us to be forgiven from our sins, and to turn away from our own sinfulness and embrace His love.

At that time, among the Jewish people, the tax collectors were considered and regarded as the worst of the worst among them, as they were viewed with contempt for their actions and relationships with the Romans, who were the overlords of the Jewish community of the time. The tax collectors were viewed as racial and national traitors, for having collaborated with the Romans and helping in the oppression of the people of God.

The taxes imposed by the Romans on the Jewish populace were highly unpopular, and they caused the tax collectors like Levi to be hated even more. But the Lord came to this supposedly most unworthy and most unlikely of those whom the Lord had called to be His disciples and followers. That was why the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law balked at Him when He called Levi to be His follower, and not only that, He even went to his house to have a meal with him and his fellow tax collectors.

And then the Lord revealed the very truth about His mission on earth, and that is to call on sinners and those who have fallen away from the grace of God, to reconcile all those who are still living in the darkness of sin, and who are still enslaved by the power of the devil and by the many temptations of this world. He does not want anyone to fall into damnation, as long as He is able to prevent it by calling on His people to repent from their sins.

And He does this, by completing the mission which His heavenly Father has given Him, that is to bear the combined burden and weight of humanity’s many sins, to be the High Priest of all of us mankind, the One and true High Priest, Who by the offering of His Most Precious Body and Blood on the altar of the cross, become for us the source of our everlasting life and glory, of our salvation and liberation from the tyranny and power of sin.

The Lord has willingly done all of these, because of His great and enduring love for each and every one of us, of His care and compassion for us, despite our rebelliousness and stubbornness. All of these are caused by His commitment to the Covenant which He had established with each and every one of us, and He saw the potential and the hope that is present within each and every one of us, even in the greatest sinners.

And we saw the result of that in none other than the calling of Levi, a tax collector who turned into a faithful disciple of the Lord, making use of his many talents to serve the Lord with all of his strength. He became a great Apostle, one of the four people who wrote the Holy Gospels, and travelled to many places in the service of God, spreading the truth that He had brought into the world, and most importantly, calling even many more sinners to the forgiveness of God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we convinced yet of the great love and compassion of God? God has been so gracious in His love and mercy wants us to be reconciled with Him, and to receive the fullness of His grace. And then, we are also called to serve the Lord and follow Him as Levi had done. Let us all continue the good works of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, calling even more people to the Lord, by our own righteous, virtuous and faithful life.

May God bless us all, His beloved children, and may He grant each and every one of us, the courage and the strength to love Him and to seek His mercy, from now on. Amen.

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