Homily for Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Theme: JESUS WITH “SINNERS”….”I have come to call to repentance; I call sinners, not the righteous”
By: Fr. Joan Carles MONTSERRAT i Pulido
Homily for Saturday February 20 2021
Today we see how Lent is moving forward and the strength of the conversion our Lord summons us to. The figure of the apostle and evangelist Matthew is very representative of those of us who think that, because of our background, or because of our personal sins or complicated life, we are unworthy of our Lord.
Well, no, we are not; to remove any doubt we might still have, Jesus Christ is offering us the possibility of following him, as He did with the first evangelist, Levi the tax collector, to whom He simply says: «Follow me» (Lk 5:27). With him Jesus does exactly the contrary of what a “sensible” and “wise” mentality would do. If today we wish to pretend being “politically correct”, Levi —instead— came from a world where he was openly rejected by all his compatriots, as he was considered, just because of the fact he was a publican, and a helper of the Romans and, possibly, as much of a corrupt by the “commissions” he might receive, who indulged in choking the poor to collect their taxes; in short, he was considered a public sinner.
Those considering themselves as perfect, could not even think of Jesus not only not requesting them to follow him but not even asking them to his own table.
However, by choosing Levi, Our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us that it is rather this kind of people whom He prefers to call to expand his Kingdom; He has chosen the sick, the sinners, those who consider themselves unworthy: «Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong» (1Cor 1:27). For these are those who need help, and as such, they will also understand those also in need.
We are not to think God wants spotless and immaculate followers to serve him. That privilege belongs only to Our Mother. But for us, subjects of God’s eternal salvation and Lent’s protagonists, God wants just a contrite and humble heart. In fact, «God has made you weak to give you his own power» (Saint Augustine). This is the type of person who, as the psalm says, God would not despise.
Fr. Joan Carles MONTSERRAT i Pulido
(Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)