Today’s Gospel: Luke 5:27-32
When people go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, they introduce themselves by saying, “Hi. I’m Joe X and I’m an alcoholic.” Admitting that you’re an alcoholic is the first step to overcoming alcohol dependency. Alcoholics never say they’re cured. They will tell how long they’ve been sober while realizing that addiction to alcohol doesn’t disappear. It’s simply managed by staying away from alcohol.
Maybe society needs to develop a Sinners Anonymous. “Hi. I’m Sally Z and I’m a sinner.” How can we stop sinning if we don’t know we’re sinning? Or if we know but refuse to admit it? In Levi’s day, people recognized sin and named it. Today people don’t recognize sin but instead name it “freedom to choose,” “alternative life choice,” or “tolerance.” Although Levi knew that he was a sinner, he responded to Christ’s call without questioning his worthiness.
Jesus called James and John, too, who left their honest work as fishermen to follow the Lord. All three men quickly brought others to meet Jesus. James and John brought Peter and Andrew; Levi brought his friends, “prostitutes and sinners.” The Pharisees recognized the sinners at Levi’s banquet, but they didn’t recognize sin in themselves. Peter, however, did. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord,” the Big Fisherman declared.
Jesus departed from no one. “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” Jesus loves to mingle with sinners. If only they knew it! Levi knew from the start that he was a sinner. James and John found out later when Jesus reprimanded them for using their mom to intercede for top positions in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus extends His invitation to each of us. “Come. Follow me.” Don’t let sin hold you back.
Is anything holding you back from following Jesus whole-heartedly? What is it? How can you let Jesus control it?
Hi, Lord. My name is ______________ and I’m a sinner. I know you came to save me. And I accept your salvation. Grant me the grace to follow you all my life. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Madeline Pecora Nugent is a wife, mom and grandmom who is also a life pledged member of the Confraternity of Penitents. She has had published several books offered in the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop including ones on the Divine Office, poor prenatal diagnosis, problem pregnancy help, Saint Anthony, and Saint Clare.