Mark 2:13-17 NRSVue

13Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax-collection station, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

15And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17When Jesus heard this, he said to 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.”

Some thoughts on this scripture

Levi, as a tax collector in a busy trading centre, serving the detested Roman authorities, would have been ostracised by his fellow Jews. We marvel at the power of Jesus’ call and the instant positive response of Levi, who abandons everything to follow Jesus. He invites all his disreputable friends to a big party at his home. We might well suspect the sources of Levi’s wealth. Jesus has no hesitation in joining in their table fellowship. He defends his positive outreach to sinners against the self-righteous criticism of the Pharisees.

When we gather for the Eucharist we are celebrating table fellowship with Jesus: “Take this all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body. Do this in memory of me.”