Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house. – Lk. 5:27-28

Levi, who is also traditionally known as the one of the four evangelist Matthew, is an ordinary figure in this passage who does two extraordinary things. As a tax collector he is looked upon in his community as an outcast, a sinner. He is not particularly special in his station in life. Yet, Jesus calls him to discipleship. Levi’s first reaction is swift and shows a tremendous amount of trust as he leaves everything to follow Jesus. He does not even question his worthiness or holiness as I tend to do. How many times do I analyze or weigh risks and consequences before following through with simple requests? However, Levi does not stop there. He goes on to throw a feast for Jesus in his house. He receives his calling as a gift and expresses his gratitude with a grand gesture.

The journey of accepting my own calling in Christ is meandering and full of unexpected twists and turns. Most times, I am filled with fear and uncertainty, and all I want to do is question. Other times, I willfully turn away from it. And then there are those times where I understand that wholeheartedly following Christ is the most rational and natural choice. Through it all, I am aware of my inadequacies. “Why Lord would you call me, a confused person who often times is willfully disobedient and selfish?” Or, I may feel the extra burden and responsibility of living in a manner that I perceive as acceptable to God. “There’s no way I can live up to that standard.”

And yet, I am called as I am. We are all called exactly as we are. Levi is a wonderful model for us. He does not doubt nor makes excuses. Perhaps before wondering about how we are to follow Christ, we may reflect on the gift of this invitation to discipleship.

How may we express our gratitude to be a disciple of Christ this Lenten season?

Michael Jamnongjit