Sunday Vigil

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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 reading of the Gospel according to Mark unites us to Jesus and to his small community, while he takes his first steps in the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus continued to walk along the shore of the lake of Galilee - "he went out again" writes the evangelist as to call for our attention, because Jesus never goes out in vain - and he encountered Levi, a tax collector, sitting at the tax booth. Publicans, or tax collectors, were distrusted and despised, but Jesus stopped right in front of the sinner. Jesus looked at him and invited him to follow him. Levi left everything behind and began to follow him. Jesus' small community grew in number and Jesus did not worry about the background or condition of those he called to follow him. Indeed, he wants us to understand that to join his community there are no requirements: it does not matter how we are, our story or character. For Levi, who will be known also as Matthew, as for the first four disciples, it was enough to hear one single word: "Follow me." The evangelist tells then of a banquet that Levi organized In honour of Jesus and of the other four disciples to which he also invited his friends, publicans and sinners. The Pharisees accused Jesus publicly for his behaviour that was considered sinful; eating with publicans and sinners meant to contaminate oneself and become unclean. Obviously Jesus knew that he would generate a scandal with his behaviour. But for Jesus sitting at the table with sinners meant showing the newness of the kingdom of God; everyone is admitted to the table of Father starting with sinners. What was sin for the Pharisee, was Gospel for Jesus. In that banquet God's mercy was manifested. Jesus' answered them: "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."