Sunday Vigil

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The week of prayer for Christian unity begins. Particular memory of the Catholic Church

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 2, 13-17

He went out again to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them.

As he was walking along he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.

When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers.

When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?'

When Jesus heard this he said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Day after day, the Gospel of Mark unites us to Jesus and the small community that he had gathered, while he takes his first steps in the preaching of the Gospel: “The whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them,” notes the evangelist. Jesus really appeared like the good shepherd who finally gathered the sheep and fed them with good food. His passion for people led him to walk in his region in order to encounter all. Papa Francesco would comment on this by saying that pastors - like Jesus - must remain on the road. And in fact, Jesus continues to walk on the shores of Lake Galilee: it is the place of meetings. As he walks, he sees Levi, a tax collector, who is sitting at the tax office. As soon as Jesus sees him, he calls him, and even Levi is impressed by that call. The word of Jesus, when it reaches the heart, does not leave us unchanged. Levi gets up, leaves everything, and begins to follow Jesus. The little family continues to grow in number. The Master is not interested in the origin or the condition of those he calls to follow him. In fact, to be part of the community of the disciples, there are no foreclosures of any kind; it does not matter how we are, what story or what character we have. Even Levi is considered to be a public sinner because of his office as a tax collector who fattened the coffers of the Roman oppressors. To join the community of disciples, what matters is to listen to the Word of God and put it into practice: exactly as Levi did. For him, as for the first four disciples, it was enough to hear one single word: “Follow me.” Levi got up, left his table, and began to follow Jesus. The evangelist goes on to say that Levi organizes a lunch in honour of Jesus and the disciples. However, Levi invites his friends, publicans like him and therefore sinners. It must be remembered that for the Pharisees, sharing the table meant also sharing impurity. This explains the strong accusation against Jesus, in which is immediately clear the hardness and viciousness of a legalistic mentality with no mercy. Quite different is Jesus’ conception: “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners,” he replies to their accusations. Not that Jesus considered the Pharisees righteous. They were the ones who erroneously thought right of themselves. But certainly Levi and the other diners - like each of us - were weak, poor, and sinful. Well, Jesus came not just for the weak and the sinners, but he came also for the Pharisees. For us, the condition to be saved is not to feel righteous, but rather in need of the Lord.