‘FAST- forward’ – Friday, 22nd week in ordinary time – Lk 5:33-39

The setting of today’s Gospel is the home of Levi the tax collector (Luke 5:29). Having experienced a conversion to repentance Levi throws a banquet for Jesus in his house and present are a ‘crowd’ of tax collectors. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus has come to call all and that included sinners. However, this calling was not merely some ‘happy-clappy’ calling but a ‘call to repentance’ (5: 32). The grace of God is FREE, but make no mistake, it is not CHEAP!

Interestingly, seated among the ‘guests’ are the ‘Pharisees and their scribes’. One wonders what these purists were doing, sitting in the same company of those whom they considered sinners.  Perhaps it was their desire to take down Jesus that made them compromise on their own beliefs for we are told that “they came from every village of Galilee and from Jerusalem.” (5:17)

Having lost the first argument to Jesus about His fellowship meal with Levi and the other sinners the Jews now train their guns to cause division among Jesus’ disciples. They compare his disciples with his cousin Johns the Baptists’ disciples. The disciples of John the Baptist are drawn into the same corner of the disciples of the Pharisees as ones who fast and pray frequently while the disciples of Jesus are portrayed as gluttons and drunkards. Incidentally, the theme of ‘eating and drinking’ runs all through the Gospel of Luke prompting one commentator to say that ‘Jesus ate his way through the Gospel’.

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