Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Is. 58:9-14; Luke 5:27-32
The Call of Levi
An unknown author gave these tips about friendship in his Tips on being a Friend. He enumerated these tips as: Treat your friends the way you want to be treated; Keep secrets that are told to you; Pay attention when your friend is talking; Keep your promises; Share things with your friend; Tell your friend the truth; Stick up for your friend; Take turns.
In today’s gospel by His grace, Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector from the custom’s post to be His follower and apostle, (v. 27). It is a wonderful consolation that He admits poor fishermen to be His disciples, men of the lowest rank; but much more wonderful that He admits publicans, men of the worst reputation and men of ill fame. In this instance Christ humbles Himself and appears in the likeness of sinful flesh. By this He exposes Himself and gets the true character of a friend of publicans and sinners.
C. Raymond Beran, (in Bits & Pieces, Sept. 19, 1991, p.3-4) asked: What is a friend? He said that friends are people with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with them. They ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse. When you are with them, you feel as a prisoner feels, who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, as long as it is genuinely you. Friends understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities and in opening them up to friends, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of their loyalty. They understand. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them and tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It makes no matter. They like you. They are like fire that purges to the bone. They understand. You can weep with them, sing with them, laugh with them and pray with them. Through it all and underneath they see, know and love you. What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.
Jesus is our friend. We may have neglected the friendship or been out of touch for a while from Him but the Lord continues to have an intimate and growing relationship with each one of us who comes to Him. He’s ready whenever we are to renew the friendship. Our Friend Jesus is waiting to hear from us. If so, then let us get back and be in touch with Him again. Let us build friendship with Jesus into our life’s story.
At the end let us reflect this word of Jesus our Ultimate Friend who once said to His closest followers: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you,” (John 15:15). We are His friends. And to His friends He says: “I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”