He [the Lord]said to him [Levi],
And leaving everything behind,
he got up and followed Him.
Day 4: Saturday after Ash Wednesday – Luke 5:28
He said to him [Levi], “Follow Me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed Him. -Lk 5:28
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Follow Me. What simple yet powerful words. That short statement by Jesus not only promises comfort but eternal life to all who follow it. Imagine for a moment feeling completely lost in the wilderness and then, all of the sudden, you hear Jesus whisper to you: Follow Me. If you were familiar with that gentle voice, you would instantly feel safe and would eagerly follow Him. But unfortunately many souls are not familiar with His voice and, when it comes, are unsure who is speaking and if it can be trusted.
Trusting a divine nudge or call requires a leap of faith. In an uncertain culture, one in which works overtime to convince you that His voice does not exist, this can be a daunting and confusing task. In such cases, blind faith is needed first, a total surrender and abandonment of self; then, education must follow. Simply put, in order to strengthen our faith once we step out in faith requires learning our faith.
Jesus Christ promises to lead the way everlasting, teaching us everything we need to know through Scripture, Tradition and His Church along the way. And because of His unfathomable goodness, He is (and has been) more than patient and merciful with us. But the fact remains, we must do our part … and time is of the essence. The Way of Jesus may not be easy, straight or comfortable; and yes, following His ways are contrary to “the ways of the world” demanding of us sacrifice, courage and perseverance but, friends, it is the only way. Fortunately for us, we can never out-give or out-love Jesus. When we do something for Him, when we answer His call and follow Him, there is a massive payoff. What is it in this case? Supernatural blessings on earth and eternal life.
Reflect upon the story you read in Scripture when Jesus first called Levi (Matthew). Upon hearing His call, Levi immediately left everything behind and followed Him. What a bold and courageous move! Did Levi know exactly what was going to happen by doing so? Of course not. By working with the grace of God, Levi decided to throw caution to the wind and step out in faith. He could have just said, “Nah, I’m too busy” or “No, that means giving up this or that…” but he didn’t. Levi knew in his heart that following Jesus was the most important thing he could do and because of that faith we are still talking about him today!
Think about how often we follow our own worldly desires rather than following the way that leads to Heaven. So often we murmur, “Not now, Jesus. Maybe later.” But are we ever really sure that later will come? The answer is no. We are not promised tomorrow, only today. When Jesus called Levi to follow Him, He called him right then and there regardless of what was going on in Levi’s life. And that exact same call is for you and I today.
On this fourth day of Lent, are you ready to get up from whatever you are doing and follow Jesus wholeheartedly and without reserve? Your heart may be saying “Yes!” but what is your head saying? If your head is still making excuses, bring it to Jesus and pray for the grace to overcome any doubt or fear you have. The decision to follow Him (without delay) will be eternally worth it.
Day 4 Lenten Meditation
Have you ever been driving in an unfamiliar place, one with lots of twists and turns and no street lights? It can be unnerving. But Jesus has promised to guide us through the darkness, around all the blind curves of life, to perfect safety on the other side. The next time you are feeling uncertain, trust that you have someone with you who not only knows the way but wants to guide your way. He knows that we can not lead ourselves … we don’t even know what will happen tonight let alone a week, month or year from now. So we are not asked to lead; rather, we are asked to humble ourselves and to follow the Lord — He who knows all things and always leads to the Promised Land.
Our Father, healing physician as You are, lead us on this Lenten journey by revealing what is at the center of Your will for us. Help us to allow You to occupy the full place of our hearts as You grant us the grace and courage to follow only You toward everlasting peace and joy. We ask You today, Lord, to be patient with us when we resist or falter along the way. We want to follow but we get scared. Continue to walk with us and be our Light. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Visit a homebound person or someone who needs company and is lonely. If you cannot visit them, call them.
“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off” – St. Thomas Aquinas.