Sat 13th Jan 2018
1st Week in Ordinary Time

1 Sam. 9:1-4,17-19; 10:1
Ps. 21(20)2-3,4-5,6-7
Mk. 2:13-17    (Ps Wk I)

The first reading introduces the person of Saul, who later becomes the first king of Israel. He is described as being handsome, taller than most, and the son of a wealthy man. It is interesting that in the two Books of Samuel, there are others who are described as beautiful or handsome, or people of wealth: David, Bathsheba, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah. More often than not, these people come to an unhappy or tragic end. The author of these Books seem to warn that such external gifts do not necessarily indicate divine approval and that these gifts can infact be a source of pride and disobedience to God’s law. The message is clear: It is not the externals that God approves, but what is in the heart.

This is clearly evident in the decision by Jesus in choosing Levi as one of his disciples. It indicated that Jesus chooses his followers from among those who are seen, externally, as simple and even those with 'disgraceful' occupations. Levi would have been held in contempt by his fellow Jews because as a tax collector, he cooperated with the Romans in exacting taxes for the emperor. His profession would clearly place him among the recognised ‘sinners’ of the Jewish people. Even more significant is that Jesus goes to Levi’s house to associate with other ‘sinners’. By this, the readings today remind us that God does not ‘see’ as human beings do. God ‘sees’ the ‘heart’ and not the externals. May we pray for the grace to ‘see’ as God ‘sees’.

Lord, help me to ‘see’ as You see.