I did not come to call the righteous but sinners

Published January 15, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin


Reflections today

The call of Matthew was sure to raise eyebrows in the time of Jesus since his occupation was viewed with disdain, as the customs post was conceived as a place of corruption and greed. In recounting the story, Mark did not shy away from telling how tax collectors like Matthew were numbered among sinners by society. That Jesus mingles with such men puts his reputation in question with the ardent observers of the Law. But Jesus retorts by saying that the essence of his mission is to call the lost sheep of his flock.
The Church exists not for the perfect, but for the weak, the lost, the sinner. Perfection is the goal, not the qualification for membership in the Church. Pope Francis says, “The Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners.” People who are hesitant to come closer to God should always remember that Jesus sought out not the righteous, but the sinners.
What draws me away from God and the Church? Have I onsidered that it is precisely for my weaknesses that Jesus came — to strengthen me?

Gospel • MARK 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 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.”

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2022,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.