“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (MT 9:12-13)
I attended my nephew’s block party last Saturday with three siblings and as usual, the conversation eventually turned to politics. Unlike some years past, we all seemed to be on the same page and quickly moved to discuss other interests. I’m probably nuts to be thinking this, but I kind of miss the days when my brothers and I would get into some very heated arguments concerning the issues of the day. The miracle of those encounters was that we parted brothers, maybe not totally respecting each other’s views, but caring about our common welfare.
It seems Jesus had a knack for bringing people to dinner who held unpopular jobs or represented the marginalized individuals of his day, like tax collectors and sinners. I wonder what Jesus is trying to tell me. I can easily dismiss the story in today’s gospel thinking well of course Jesus came to save sinners, but who are the sinners today? I would like to think the sinners are you, that is anyone who doesn’t think like I do. On my more sober days, I remember that I am the sinner. I am the one Jesus came to save. I am the one who must change. I am the one who needs to sit at the table with Jesus and discover where I need to grow in his likeness.
Thank you Jesus for being patient with me. I’m a slow learner, but you keep bringing me back to the table.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.