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March 4 - Jesuits of North-West Africa Province | Society of Jesus

 

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

March 4, 2017

 

Isaiah 58:9b-14

Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4,5-6

Luke 5:27-32

by *Dr. Ifeyinwa Adegbulugbe

 

Listen? Listen! Our first reading today invites us to listen, and in our noisy world now, that is a gift we need to rediscover (Job 33: 31,33 – “keep listening, don’t interrupt, I’m not finished yet…I’m going to teach you the basics of wisdom”).

God is asking us to slow down and create an enabling environment to listen, tuning into His whisper, the still quiet voice. A whisper connotes intimacy between two persons, so what’s God saying to you? (Psalm 81:5 – “I heard this gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me”) Come closer still, “follow Me” Jesus says, did you hear Him?

Jesus invites Levi to do the same. Levi must have heard of Jesus or how else can we explain his leaving everything behind, with unquestioning abandon, to commit to Jesus (Proverbs 5:7 – “so my friend, listen closely, don’t treat My words casually”). Where does Jesus invite Levi, and all of us to this Lenten period? To a place of healing, renewed strength, the evergreen place, “to reveal and revel in His Light1. To be a people who bring healing and comfort as we have been comforted, …repairers of the breach, restorers of ruined homesteads.

We are invited to a state of mindfulness, as St. Ignatius advocates in the Examen, so that we can experience growth. To live our ordinary lives with extraordinary purpose, by translating God given values into daily practice. God invites us to look at those on the fringes of our lives, people whose lifestyles, qualities, attitudes we may not approve of. He asks that we act with openness and generosity.

 A chance to cooperate with God by removing desolation, loneliness, dehumanization. To share the grace of being loved with another human being, to see their humanity, to “recognize” them and let them know they are valued despite their circumstances. It’s not enough to be devout but we must be actively involved in providing comfort for those on the fringes of society, an inclusiveness. Levi was such a person, judged by his means of livelihood or character, But Jesus chose to come abide with him at table, very scandalous behavior as adjudged by the Pharisees. Our Lord who was “manger-born”2 understands how it feels not to meet expectations.

Our responsorial hymn says ‘teach me…to walk in Your truth” Listen again

Let’s thank God for His friendship and kindness towards us, always. Amen.

 
 

 *Dr. Ifeyinwa Adegbulugbe is a Consultant Paedodontist who worships at the Catholic Chaplaincy of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

1"to reveal and revel in His Light”  - Beatitudes by Malcom Guite 
 
2"Manger born"  from the song "Bread of Heaven" by Fred Hammond.

 

 

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