Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Jesus came for the sinners

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me”. And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do”. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners”. Lk 5,27-32

Today we find Jesus at the table with the sinners. Since lunching together is an event of great intimacy, peace and joy, there is not a clearer picture than this scene to announce that, in Jesus of Nazareth, God himself came to re-establish a new fellowship with the sinful man. If you think that in Israel the banquet prophesied the eschatological time, i.e. the day when God would finally have revealed himself to the man, we realize the symbolic significance of this party, that Matthew prepares in his house in honor of Jesus. When he sits at the table with the sinners the human family is recomposed: the man is willing to renounce to its past of rebellion against God and he returns, like the prodigal son, to the father’s house. Not everyone has an instant conversion as Matthew, who immediately abandoned everything. Most of the guests at the today banquet will welcome the gospel rather slowly, but the important thing is that everyone is at the table with Jesus. It is not important what we are when it begins the meal, but what we become in the end, when we get up from the table. Or, to use another metaphor: not all the people enter into the kingdom of heaven by flying, we will get someone limping, but the important thing is to get into it. Facing this wonderful scene the scribes and the pharisees, as the older brother of the parable of the prodigal son, murmur and complain because of the initiative of the banquet and they are careful not to sit at the table in the company of others. They too, like  the brother of the prodigal son, always remained in the family home, but as the servants, not ever finding the true understanding of the father’s heart, without grasping his love. In the today’s gospel Jesus concludes with an outrageous sentence: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners”. It is the essence of the entire gospel and it is also a message for the parents facing children who are disbanded or lost: each father has to show as such by practicing forgiveness. The important thing to be forgiven is that there is the sincerity of the heart, no one would go to the doctor to hide his illness. If he did it, he could not recover

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *