Good News A28
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
In the time of Jesus, people were not allowed to worship in the temple if they were sick, if they were tax collectors for the Romans, if they had been found guilty of cheating. Jesus wanted people to know the love and forgiveness of God. People had witnessed the healing of the blind man, they had heard about the raising from the dead of Lazarus, they had seen the lepers who had sores all over their bodies become healed. These people were the ones who needed Jesus. These people realized their sins and knew they needed forgiveness. Therefore they traveled miles to be near Jesus.
The “good” people, the people who thought they were “perfect” were not aware that they were sick. They did not think they were sinners. They did not go to Jesus to ask for healing because in their eyes they were not sick. In their eyes they thought they were perfect, therefore, they did not need healing. If they did not need healing, they did not need to go to the doctor, who was Jesus. Those who thought that they were good and perfect did not spend a lot of time near Jesus. They didn’t ask for Jesus’ help because they didn’t think they needed it. They didn’t think they were broken. Therefore, they didn’t need Jesus to fix them. It is wisdom to realize that we need the help of God. It is faith and humility that helps us not be too proud to ask God to help us.
Jesus wants us to give mercy. He wants us to be kind and forgiving. Many people who were sinners, flocked around Jesus because he was kind and forgiving. People liked being around Jesus because he gave them hope that if they had enough faith he would heal them of their sicknesses.
Sacrifice means offering something, such as an animals’ life, to God in worship to win favor or forgiveness. God gave his son, Jesus as sacrifice. God told us through Jesus that instead of giving this kind of sacrifice to God, that God wants us to give mercy.
If a bully, picks on you, God wants you to stand up for yourself, but he wants you to be willing to forgive the bully. If someone in your family gets sick, he wants you to help take care of them. If a thief takes something away from you, Jesus wants you to prevent this from happening again, but he also wants you to forgive the person who stole from you.
The Jewish people who collected taxes for the Romans had been mostly dishonest. Even Matthew who Jesus chose to be his disciple was guilty of this sin. He had not been honest. Sometimes he would charge the people $20.00 when the Romans had said the tax was only $10.00. Then he would keep the extra $10.00 for himself. Jesus wanted Matthew to realize that he needed to change his ways and become honest. He wanted Matthew to follow him.
Many people who needed to change their ways traveled from near and far to be with Jesus. In addition to the dishonest tax collectors, there were robbers and thieves there. There were many people who were very sick with diseases of the skin, one woman was bleeding very much.
If this Gospel was taking place today, the people who were sitting at the table with Jesus might be accountants who mislead people about stocks, people with aids, teenagers who are addicted to drugs, people who have spent time in jail for stealing or for killing. There might be homeless people and beggars from the street. All of these people would come to Jesus to be healed and forgiven. These people would come because they wanted God to heal them, forgive them, and help them change for the better. These people felt the happiness, the pure joy of being forgiven by God’s only Son. We can experience this joy, too. All we have to do is ask. Then after we are forgiven, Jesus asks us to forgive one another.
Say the “Our Father” and thank God for the joy of forgiveness.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
Copyright ©2002, 2004 Joan Y. Edwards