Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (2: 13-17) in which Jesus tells the Pharisees ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor but the sick; I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners.’
Fr Paul says, today’s Gospel starts out by telling us that Capernaum is the first village reached after crossing the Jordan River and that means we’ve entered into the territory of Galilee. This was a busy trade route and, presumably, there was a border tax to be paid. The main point of this Gospel is the outrage of the Pharisees at Jesus’s actions. Jesus chooses a tax collector as one of his close companions. He goes to this man’s house and dines with him and it seems that Jesus enjoys the company of tax collectors and sinners. To the Pharisees, this was incomprehensible; how could a religious leader plunge into the cesspit of tax collectors and have dinner with them?
As we hear at the end of the Gospel, these are the very people Jesus came to seek out; these are the people Jesus wants to be with.
For our reflection today Fr Paul invites us to ask ourselves, ‘How can I be the face of Jesus to those who are in need?’