Today’s Gospel: Mark 2, 13-17
Ironically, I think it was the tax collector in today’s Gospel who got ripped off. The conversion of Levi isn’t some grand story like the conversion of Paul. Not at all! In fact, Levi only gets two little verses to recount his conversion. It’s hard not to wonder, why did Levi get the short end of the stick?
Looking deeper into these verses, we see that God can use the grand and He can use the simple to get His message across. In two simple verses we see a short, powerful, beautiful guide on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Notice that it is Jesus who is the one in action—the verbs in this passage refer to Him: “He went”; “He passed”; “He saw”. Jesus went to where Levi was; He passed by him; He saw him. Jesus looked at Levi; He gazed at Levi in love. It wasn’t anything that Levi did that caused Jesus to gaze at him. Levi didn’t climb a sycamore tree; he didn’t touch the hem of the Lord’s garment. Levi wasn’t seeking out Jesus — Jesus was looking for him.
Jesus, the Rabbi, chose Levi; and back in the time of Jesus, when a Rabbi chose you to follow him, it was because the Rabbi believed you could be like him. Believing Levi could be like Him, Jesus offers a simple command, “Follow me.” And just as easily as the command was offered, it was followed. Levi rose from what he was doing—his whole livelihood—and he followed Jesus.
The Lord is seeking us out, looking to gaze upon us, and longing to invite us to be His disciple. It is up to us if we will rise up and follow him.
The Lord’s invitation to follow him is simple; it means we take up His yoke, or rather we take up His worldview. Jesus asks us to see life through His eyes. What are some things that hinder you from seeing others as Jesus sees them? Make a conscious effort today to see others as Jesus sees you.
Thank you Lord for always pursuing me, and for longing to meet my gaze. Open my heart to hear your call and give me the courage to leave behind my worldly attractions and follow you.
Copyright 2016 Kelly Wahlquist
Kelly Wahlquist is a wife, mother of three, inspiring Catholic author and speaker. She is the founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, Assistant Director for the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute, and contributing writer for Catholicmom.com. Her book Created to Relate: God’s Design for Peace & Joy encourages women to live their beautiful God-given gifts for building relationships. KellyWahlquist.com / CatholicVineyard.com