Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
The Pharisees are shocked that Jesus is eating with sinners, but I wonder why? Didn’t he tell the Pharisee while he was dinning with him that he should invite the lame and crippled and blind and poor to dine at his table? Didn’t he also tell the story of the banquet where the poor were invited after the first chosen refused? Maybe it is one thing to listen to the discussions about associating with those you consider “unclean” and quite another when you witness it happen. If Jesus dines with sinners and he also dined with the Pharisee’s, what does that say about the Pharisee’s? On one hand Jesus lifts up the tax collectors and sinners and on the other he takes the Pharisee’s down a couple of notches.Jesus says “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? Jesus does not come to help the healthy, but to seek out the lost and the injured. The Pharisees see the sick, lost, and injured as the tax collectors and those classified as sinners by the culture of that day.Jesus sees the lost, sick, and the injured as both these “classic sinners” plus also the Pharisee’s.Sin is not the property of select groups of people, sin belongs to us all. The same can be said about righteousness. This leaves them angry as they can see sin in others but not in them selves.They were the righteous,not the sinners.The tax collectors and other “sinners” Jesus dined with likely knew their place in Society and would welcome being in a better position if they could.Given the opportunity they would gladly repent, they knew their sins.The same was not true with the Pharisees; they could not repent, because they refused to recognise themselves as sinners too.