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“Humility is the surest sign of strength.” – Thomas Merton
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The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
There goes Jesus hanging out with all the wrong people again.
This time, it’s the dishonest tax collectors of the day.
They were despised by the Jews because they were in collaboration with their Roman oppressors.
Jesus started out today’s reading by actually selecting Matthew, who was sitting at his tax collector’s post, to be a follower (Matthew 9:9).
Jesus was always including the people that the religious leaders, the Pharisees, were ostracizing.
When questioned about this, Jesus referred to a passage from the prophet Hosea in telling the Pharisees (and us) to go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
God’s great desire for all people is to know mercy.
Jesus wanted the Pharisees (and us) to know that God was not interested in their ritual sacrifices to obtain favor.
Note how God, through Jesus, had shown mercy to Matthew in calling him to be a follower while he was a sinner!
Jesus tells the Pharisees that he has come as the divine physician to assist the sick, not the well.
Which sets up a nice trap for the Pharisees (and us): Are you among the sick or the well?
The Pharisees held themselves above the others as paragons of virtue.
They were self-righteous.
The fact of the matter is, we’re all sinners.
This awareness is not so that we wallow in our faults and be guilt-ridden, but so that we can receive God’s unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness.
Then we can grow in love so that we in turn can extend that same love, mercy, and forgiveness to others.
This is the message of the Gospel of Jesus.
Is it the Gospel we reflect with our lives?
Listen to the song of the day “Mercy Reigns” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.
Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.
Purchase my new book “Listen to Your Heart: A Daily Devotional of Calling, Purpose and New Life” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Remember: God loves you!