Commentary on the Gospel of
Mk 2:13-17 Come to me as you are
- Jesus’ teaching ministry
- Come follow me
- Jesus eats with sinners and tax collectors
Teaching was central in our Lord’s ministry. The reason is obvious: He has come to lead us back to our creator! One of the focuses is helping us to have a glimpse of who God is – ‘our Father’. And so, He enlightens us that God is relational to us; He did not create and throw us out there, no, instead He is our Emmanuel; He is with us and invites us to bond with Him.
Our Lord Jesus Christ sets this bonding in process in the call of Levi and each one of us. Each one’s peculiar response fortifies or estranges this relationship all the more. It is amazing that Jesus the Christ does everything possible to lead us into this communion. The observation of the scribes underscores this attitude of our Lord: He eats with sinners and tax collectors. Why? Simply to lure them into communion with God. Traditionally, the expectation is that one converts, repents and be cleansed before dining with the sacred ones.
Jesus brings in a strange pastoral approach: dining with the sinner with the hope that conversion might take place! Does it work? The glaring proof that it works is the fact that the Gospel is a collection of testimonies of those impressed upon by Jesus’ empathetic touch, long before their conversion – the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, the woman cut in adultery, the fiery mad man, etc. Jesus, who laid down his life for us while we were sinners, invites us to come to Him as we are. It’s like saying, let sin not stop us; let worldly attractions not lure us away from God’s loving invitation to union with Him.
Levi responds by saying goodbye to friends and the world – he organises a ‘self-sent-forth’ and becomes an apostle! O God give us the grace to remain faithful to the footsteps of your apostle Matthew who followed Jesus Christ even to shedding his blood as a martyr, amen.