“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
My question is, “why do you care?” I mean, if these scribes who were Pharisees had really been concerned about the keeping of the Law, strict observance of the Commandments and following their God, they should be deeply concerned about their own progress in these things and not care so much about what other people are doing. We all know why Jesus eats with the tax collectors and sinners. We can’t get caught up in all that nonsense; we’re just happy to be at the meal at all. Or we should be
Religious people are so often tempted to this Pharisaic outlook. Jesus would say in another place: why do we get so upset about the splinter in our brother or sister’s eye that we miss the plank in our own? The ironic thing in today’s Gospel is the ending. The sick are the ones who need the doctor, not those who are well. But that is precisely the point: who among us is well enough not to need the One who is the Doctor of our Souls? Doctors will tell us that the patients who do the best, particularly with serious illness, are those who know their need for healing and cooperate. No one can make us well if we refuse to acknowledge our illnesses.
The next time we’re all tempted to judge someone else, and to question their salvation, perhaps we should pay more attention to what’s going on in us. Are we worthy of being at the banquet? Of course not. But yet here we are, called and graced by our Lord. So why expend a lot of energy trying to edit the guest list? As we come to the table, let us remember that we are all alike in that we are sinners, but we are all one in that we are forgiven and restored and brought to the table and given places of honor. All of us tax collectors and sinners gather around the Table of the Lord and partake of the rich feast that makes us whole.