Bountiful Spirit - February 20, 2021
Matthew 9: 2-13
Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Reflection by Jean Frana:
In this reading, Matthew tells the story of Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners. Whenever I hear or read this passage I chuckle because I think Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” is rather snotty. I’m sure many eyebrows were raised at the time. And I really smile again when Jesus says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”. Not the righteous, but the sinners. That means me. That means all of us. Our sins, what we have done and what we have left undone, can be forgiven by our merciful God. During the Ash Wednesday Litany of Penitence, the Priest tells us, “He pardons and absolves all those who truly repent, and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel.” God invites us in, to His love and mercy, to be forgiven again and again.