Commissioning of catechists 2018

Like we do every year, more than 200 catechists from all over the diocese gathered at Our Lady of Assumption (Cathedral) to be commissioned. Fr Wiseman Nkomo, new catechetical coordinator, shared some reflections with them before Mass on the sacrament of reconciliation (click HERE to read about it)

His talk was followed by the celebration of Mass. The Gospel of the first Saturday of Lent presents Jesus' call to Levi on which I based the homily.

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Some years' ago' someone sent me a message via WhatsApp asking: "as the Bible says 'love begins at home', would it be right if I used money I have put aside for the church to help a relative?".

I thought for a short while and then asked: "where is it in the Bible that we read that 'love begins at home'?"

My friend honestly replied: "I don't know". In fact it is not there. It is said in every continent but it is not in the Bible. We sometimes risk repeating things we hear without checking if it is true or not.

It made me reflect on our journey as catechists. We are called to help others to know Jesus. To know him, to love him, to follow him. We should be very careful never to teach something which is not true, which is not in the Gospels. We should, in fact, make them very familiar with God's word following what St Jerome says: "Ignorance of Scripture, is ignorance of Christ"

We should help others become excited about God's Word and to be amazed at what we read. Just think of today's passage. Jesus calls Levi to follow him. Couldn't he call anyone else? Did he have to call Levi out of all people? Everyone knew who he was: a tax collector! Still... Levi was Jesus' choice and Levi left everything and followed Jesus.

At the beginning of the same chapter we also read Jesus' call to Peter. He himself would reply saying: "Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man." but that would not scare Jesus. On the contrary. He said: "Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching".

The ones we journey with should come to understand that Jesus looked for sinners because "It is not those that are well who need the doctor, but the sick". They should never fear Jesus. They should never feel they cannot come close to him because they are sinners.

The passage not only tells us who Jesus called but how they answer to this call. It always touches me that Luke tells us that in Jesus' honour "Levi held a great reception in his house and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others"
Would that be your choice of people to invite for a meal in Jesus' honour? Probably not but he was indeed right. It was not Jesus who felt uncomfortable but the pharisees and their scribes. They complained to Jesus' disciples about it: ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?'
Levi seems to get right two things:
  • having left everything to follow Jesus, he does not feel better than anyone else. He is still surrounded by the same "friends";
  • he seemed to have understood Jesus' heart and that is why he brings to Jesus the sick who need the doctor

I wished we could help others become familiar with this and similar passages so that they can clearly distinguish between Jesus' way and the pharisees'. Wished we could help each other as Church to make choices according to His heart.