A call to sinners
And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Reading: Luke 5:27-32
In this passage from Luke we see two events that are linked, not only because one is a consequence of the other, but also because what we learn through this text is precisely how the text concludes.
Matthew: a tax collector, a tax collector, among the most rejected, a traitor to his own people. And the Master calls him, and he leaves everything, and follows him.
A supper: Matthew wants to share the joy of receiving Jesus’ call with those who know him. He invites other tax collectors to his house. And Jesus dines with them, and announces to them the Kingdom of God, which brings grace.
The critics: The Pharisees and scribes are scandalized. this Jesus cannot come from God! He hangs out with sinners, with the worst!
The best response: Jesus then says to them: I called Matthew, because I have come to call those who are ready to acknowledge their need of me. I have come to call the sick, not the healthy.
The self-sufficiency of the Pharisees prevents them from recognizing their sinful condition, and Jesus, as the one who came to bring remedy to our greater evil. Those who recognize their guilt, no matter how great it may be, receive forgiveness!
MEDITATE: Are we aware of these two realities? Our sin is great, but Our Savior, His love and grace, are greater.