“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves” (Carl Jung)
Gospel text (Mt 9:9-13): As Jesus moved on from there, He saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom-house, and he said to him, «Follow me». And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, «Why is it that your master eats with those sinners and tax collectors?». When Jesus heard this he said, «Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go and find out what this means: ‘What I want is mercy, not sacrifice’. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners».
In today's Gospel passage, Jesus is challenged because of His inclusion of all sorts of people at His table. His reply confronted the righteous, among whom the Pharisees no doubt counted themselves, with their need for some serious attitude adjustment. If they wanted to take a seat at Jesus' table, they should be ready to sit next to all kinds of folks. They could exclude themselves; He would exclude no one.
«Why is it that your master eats with those sinners and tax collectors?» (Mt 9:10). Jesus' answer is immediate: «Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do» (Mt 9:12). The comparison is perfect: «I did not come to call the righteous but sinners» (Mt 9:13).
These words of the Gospel are topical. Jesus keeps on inviting us to follow him, each one of us according to his condition and profession. And, more often than not, to follow Jesus means to leave behind some messy passions, or some poor family relationships, or just a waste of time, to allot some moments to prayer, to the Eucharist feast or to some missionary pastoral care. In other words «no Christian ought to think of him as his own master, for he is submitted to God's service» (St. Ignatius of Antioch).
Jesus is, indeed, asking me to change my life, so I wonder: which group do I belong to, to the perfect persons or to those who sincerely accept they can dramatically improve? For I can improve, can't I?