FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
Saturday 15 January 2022
Ordinary Time 1
WORD of the DAY
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Mark 2: 16-17)
How shall I live this Word?
The most significant events and the most enlightening words were done by Jesus at table. In this passage we find two closely related scenes, the call of Levi and the meal with sinners. The first teaches that our sin does not prevent Jesus’ call. The meal with sinners shows the patience that Jesus has towards those who follow Him, but who have not yet completely broken with evil. Eating and drinking with these men, Jesus addresses His word of salvation to everyone and does not exclude anyone from His company. For Him, there is no separation between ‘saints’ and ‘sinners’. The Eucharist, of which the meal is the image, is not only food for the perfect and deserving, but it is above all medicine for the weak and support for the disheartened. This is why we enter into communion with Him by saying, “Lord, I am not worthy”. The scribes and Pharisees, who wanted to be teachers of the true religion, were not even disciples of it. They pretended to be just because they observed all the laws of God, except the most important one, which makes men similar to God: to love everyone with His own love for them. The question of the scribes and Pharisees is addressed to the disciples; however, the answer comes from Jesus. “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” A word that comforts us, that gives us hope. We all feel comforted when in the face of our sins, our trifles, our inconsistencies, we hear repeated, “I have come to call sinners” to be at the table, in friendship, with them.”
The Voice of J. Guillet, Theologian
John the Baptist receives the sinners around him, but they are the ones who go to him to ask what they must do. The day on which Jesus leaves the Jordan region to walk to Galilee, it is He who goes in search of the sinners. The movement is reversed. In this inversion is contained the whole of Christianity.
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