Gospel Reflection Friday (1 July) – 13th week Ordinary Time – Jesus says Follow me
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (9: 9-13) in which Jesus, when questioned about the company he was keeping, says “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the word, what I want is mercy, not sacrifice. Indeed, I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners.”
Fr Paul says nobody likes tax collectors, even in Jesus’ time. What made it worse in Jesus’ time was that tax collectors worked for the enemy, the Romans. Yet, we see that Jesus willingly chooses them for his company.
As we hear today, he calls Matthew, a tax collector, to come and follow him and Matthew does so. We then hear that Jesus sits to eat dinner and a group of tax collectors and sinners join him at the table. Jesus goes out of his way to reach out to this group; people, who the Pharisees regarded as the outcasts, the dirty sinners. This is what scandalises the Pharisees. Jesus seems to enjoy being with these people.
As we hear, Fr Paul says, at the end of the Gospel, Jesus is reminding us that there is good in everyone and that everyone deserves to be loved.