The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope
Today’s Gospel: Luke 5:27–32
If you were to name your top ten choices of guests for a fantasy dinner, who would make your list? Would you go the spiritual route with someone like Mother Teresa or Desmond Tutu? How about someone from art or science like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo or Einstein? Chances are that no tax collectors or IRS officials would make your list!
In today’s gospel lesson, we encounter Jesus inviting yet another unlikely would be disciple, Levi (or Matthew as he is called in the First Gospel) to “follow him.” In response, Levi hosts a great banquet in Jesus’ honor to which he invites his fellow tax collector friends. In those days, tax collectors were characterized by Pharisees and scribes as “sinners.”
Once again, Jesus breaks with the societal “norm” by including the excluded. Jesus’ invitation to the table, the Lord’s Table, is always an open invitation – even to sinners like Levi and you and me. Will you accept the invitation to join with fellow sinners to the banquet Jesus offers or sit on the sidelines waiting for the fantasy dinner attendees to assemble?
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth your right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Lesser Feasts and Fasts, p. 31)