Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

What a different world this would be if each and everyone of us truly and deeply knew ourselves to be a sinner!! We are ALL imperfect human beings struggling to make sense of the hand dealt to us by life. We make mistakes... we ALL make mistakes. We are sinners in need of Grace to choose other paths that lead to life and selfLESSness, not ego and judgement of others.

Jesus called a notorious sinner, notorious because he was so public and in league with the dreaded Romans, Matthew, to follow him into an entirely new way of living. Shocking!!! The religious leaders watched Jesus as he went and had supper with this notorious sinner. Jesus shouldn’t be socializing with bad people... sinners!!! After all, these religious types were freed from sin because they followed the letter of the Law. Not so.

The message of Jesus, eating with people who made mistakes in life, is clearly we are ALL in the same boat. And what a glorious boat it is because we are surrounded by people just like ourselves: imperfect. This type of inclusive dinner gathering becomes the way to be freed to make other choices that bring life and integrity. All because we associate with sinners and know, deep down, we are one of them. How can we possibly judge another person’s heart?

If only the religious leaders simply judged the actions of Jesus rather than his humanity. Maybe they could have questioned their own inner motives and understanding of the Law. We all make necessary judgements about the destructive actions of others, but the judgement should lead us to try and understand the humanity behind horrible actions and attitudes. When our judgement leads us to think we are somehow better or superior to people who “sin,” we need to pause and honestly look in the mirror.

Fr. Frank