1 Sm 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1
I knew my master. He’s Levi, an unhappy man. He’s a prime example of someone who has money and possessions, but is miserable and empty. It’s because, I believe, that he’s caught between two worlds. The Romans, for whom he collects taxes, don’t accept him; and the Jewish people who are his lineage, feel betrayed. So it’s a lonely life, which he makes up for by lavish parties, filled with people who want free food, yet later mock him.
Tonight was different. He was almost annoying as he kept checking on the contents and preparations of the food. When someone asked jokingly, “What makes this night different from all others?” he quickly said, “Because it’s the last one. I’m going away.” For the first time, he smiled at us and said, “Thank you for your loyal service.” This was a depth of him that I had never seen. Only later did I know that it was Jesus’ invitation to follow Him that made the difference.
Jesus was very friendly – attractive or charming is a fitting description. He didn’t act weak or strong, but seemed genuinely glad and grateful to the master for his invitation. I liked Him because He was good to the master. Levi needed a friend.
When the usual gad-flies asked about the guest list, Jesus said that well people don’t need a physician, but sick people do, and God loves those who admit the difference. It was as if He were looking at me when He said it. I mattered to God, me a servant girl! The master and I were both starting to see things differently.
- Fr. Michael Greene, C.P. is Associate Retreat Director at Bishop Molloy Retreat Center in Jamaica, NY