Scripture: Lectionary 310. I Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19, 10:1. Psalm 21:2-3,4-5,6-7. Mark 2:13-17
First impressions are important to all of us and they often result in new friends or even in offering a work or ministry to someone who makes an impression on us in the first instance. We see the possibility of leadership or honesty in the ones who make a good impression and the opposite in the persons who do not make a good impression on us in their first meeting or encounter with us.
University students dress up and look very squeaking clean when presenting themselves for a leadership role, a job. Or even a meeting with a new professor. This is no new tendency in humans when it comes to the idea of “first impression” experiences. Samuel has a good first impression when one of the tallest, most handsome, and honest son of Kish comes to him. His name is Saul and he seeks out the “seer” Samuel to help him find his father’s donkeys and beasts of burden. Since the people have been clamoring against the opposition of Samuel to have a king, Saul maybe the one God has chosen to be king of Israel; he looks like he could handle the threat of the other peoples surrounding Israel. Samuel anoints him, kisses him and declares Saul the king.
Saul is a Benjamite and in the history of the New Testament his name is given to the apostle who will be called Saul and then Paul in order to reach the Greek and Latin speakers and potential members of the new Church. Paul is always proud about his heritage; he is not a Levite nor a Davidid.
In the reading from Samuel we see the effect of first impressions on the part of the prophet. This will soon change and the evaluation of Saul we become very much the opposite of that first impression. That happens in today’s Gospel where Jesus makes a great impression on some, but others are already questioning his authority and his ministry of healing and exorcising. We know the feeling of such changes in our own lives by recalling some of our first impressions and about those we made about others. Things change rapidly once the person is known better; this may enhance the first impression or take away from it. Jesus does not make a good first impression on the scribes and possibly the Pharisees for they see him with sinners and tax collectors. Levi is a tax collector and Jesus is calling him to follow; somehow Levi made a good impression on Jesus.
What is my first impression of Jesus? What do you think his first impression of me is? Do they match? Would Jesus choose me for the impression I am making on him today? Would I allow myself to ponder over the first great experience of seeing Jesus for the first time? Amen.