Gospel and Meditation for Saturday after Ash Wednesday

The Feast in the House of Levi, Paolo Veronese, 1573, Oil on canvas
“I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 5,27-32.

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, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”


Saint Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)
Spanish Trappist monk
Spiritual writings, 15/12/1936 (trans. ‘To know how to wait’, Mairin Mitchell)

Above the monastery some planes are cutting through the sky at tremendous speed. The noise of the engines frightens the birds who take shelter in the cypresses of our cemetery. In front of the convent and crossing the land is a tarred road along which lorries and carloads of tourists, for whom the sight of the monastery has no interest, run at all hours. One of the principal Spanish railways also runs through the fields of the monastery… People tell you that all this is freedom… But the man who reflects a little will see how deluded the world is in the midst of what he calls freedom…

Where, then, is true freedom? It is in the heart of one who loves nothing more than God. It is in the heart of one who is attached neither to spirit nor to matter, but only to God. It is in that soul which is not subject to the “I” of egoism, which soars above its own thoughts, feelings, suffering and enjoyment. Freedom resides in the soul whose one reason for existence is God, whose life is God and nothing else but God.

The human spirit is small, impoverished, subject to a thousand changes of mood, ups and downs, depressions, disillusionments, etc., and the body to so much weakness. Freedom, then, is in God, and the soul which truly, in soaring above everything, makes her abode in him, can say that she enjoys freedom to the extent that is possible for one still in the world to do so.

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