Posted: 04 Jul 2013 08:51 AM PDT
Today’s Gospel Text: As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt 9:9-13
Reflection: It bewilders me; it is explicitly written: many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.(vs. 10b)
What bewilders me is that there seemed to be a righteous lot whom scripture in reality is showing them in the bad light.
Yes, the Pharisees are the righteous and at the same time, though neither sinners nor tax collectors, are presented as evil men who oppose Jesus and his way of working.
Were the Pharisees really righteous and if yes then how beneficial is it to be righteous like the Pharisees?
In a certain sense or let’s put it, as per the demands of the law they were indeed righteous. But this righteousness was based on pure human strength and it made them, either consciously or unconsciously, feel that they were now equal to God, minus the humility of the creator.
Thus that made them blind to the many humanistic element of the law and the necessity of right relationship with God and man.
Many of them seemed so blind that they either appeared as hypocrites or practiced hypocrisy to a great detail.
Paul was one such Pharisee who talks about this state briefly in the letter to the Philippians. (Phil. 3: 4-11)
On the other hand these particular tax collectors and sinners were humbly aware of their sinfulness and felt the need for God to save them; they felt the need of a savior and in Jesus they find one.
They knew they were leading a life of hypocrisy and felt that Jesus could take them out of this situation.
Likewise, we could have the modern day Pharisees, who may be spiritual and may appear righteous and yet, at the same time evil and rejected by God and that could be us.
Prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Ps 139:23-24
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