“The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. ... And you have to start from the ground up. - Pope Francis: (Sept. 19, 2013)
Gospel Text: (MK 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."
We spend so much time and energy masking our own weaknesses and concealing our sinfulness. We try to appear strong and tough to others. Yet we know that God sees through our masks and façades. Jesus penetrated the rough and tough exteriors of Levi, the tax collectors and other sinners when he dined with them. He did so not to chastise or condemn them, but to bring them to the love and grace of God. Perhaps we can spend less time maintaining our own façades once we realize that Jesus came to call the sinners.