After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” Luke 5:27-39
I arrived at Meier Lake very early yesterday and was greeted by the staff here. They had much to do so they left me on my own after they helped me get my bags to the room and gave me a bit of a tour. Since I left home very early I had little to eat. As the day progressed, I realized how hungry I was, how little resources I had and how hard it must be for those who are homeless and in strange surroundings. It was very peaceful and beautiful, but anxious making none the less. About then, Glenn, who is in charge around here, showed up, with sandwich fixings from home and some fruit and snacks. I couldn't have been happier - it was quiet a feast. There was joy and gratitude in my heart.
Jesus calls Levi and in gratitude Levi (Matthew) sets a big feast. There is much criticism for the way Jesus hangs with people who celebrate and make merry. They expect him to be always sacrificial and always austere despite the fact that they are not. Jesus reminds them that it is good to celebrate and give thanks for God's gifts of love and calling. We are invited today to be ever grateful for those gifts of abundance we have in our lives, and to make glad with the people who have provided for us in our time of need.
Today, I ask God to help me celebrate the gifts, big and small, which come my way today. May we see the face of Christ in each giver, in each friend we make today. May we know the love of God visible and living in each act of kindness and affection we receive. And may we, in our gratitude, lay feasts for others, for those who need to know today that God is with them, loving them and feeding all of their needs.