Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Call of Sinners

Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” - Luke 5:31-32

In this passage Jesus calls the tax collector, Levi, to follow him, which of course he does. (Levi is called Matthew in the gospel according to St. Matthew.) After his acceptance of the call, Jesus attends a banquet at Levi's house where there are tax collectors and other sinners. (I have always liked how in the bible there were tax collectors and then all of the rest of the sinners.) The Pharisees look with disdain to Jesus for dining with such people. Jesus replies with the above statement.

It is really a rather clever statement to be honest. It would appear that Jesus has come to be a thorn in the side of the Pharisees who certainly saw themselves as "the righteous." If he had come to call the sinner to repentance, what role would the Pharisees have in his kingdom?

Well, that is the real irony in the situation because the truth is that all are sinners, even the Pharisees. The Pharisees posed a question to Jesus, and in reply, Jesus gave them an invitation to repentance, the same invitation that he gave to Levi and the other disciples, the same invitation that he gives to all of us. The real question then is, will we be convinced of our righteousness or will we be aware of our sinfulness and need for redemption?

St. Casimir, pray for us.


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