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Lent calendar - 17 February

Badhon (right) is helping Kowshola (left) and other members of her indigenous community to stand up for their rights as they face eviction from their ancestral lands in Bangladesh.

Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?

Luke 5:30

The Pharisees and scribes are very put out that Jesus seems more willing to spend time with those who are not deemed respectable, rather than in their own exalted company.

Jesus answers that he hasn’t come to be surrounded by the virtuous, but rather to call sinners to repentance.

It is all too easy to close ourselves off to others. To find our people and stick with them. Whether that’s an echo chamber on social media, a group of friends, or the ‘right kind’ of Christians.

But Jesus’ lesson here is that we need to open ourselves up to others. We will never convince them of our point of view by shouting from the other side of the room about how they are wrong, or by condemning them without understanding them.

Instead, let us try to encounter others with our hearts and minds open to listen and willing to be changed.

As Pope Francis writes in Evangelii Gaudium, “Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God. Whenever our eyes are opened to acknowledge the other, we grow in the light of faith and knowledge of God.” (#272)

Prayer

Christ Jesus, you came and you ate with all kinds of people. Open our hearts to encounter others with love and so come to know you better. Amen.

Act

Encounter James, a fisherman from Liberia, as you watch this video.

Download the Parish appeal film

Hear from James himself about how CAFOD's support has helped fishermen in his community to keep providing for their families and share their story with our special parish appeal film.