27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And he got up, left everything, and followed him.
29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus came to help people in need, the sick, the poor, the lonely, those who mourn, and most of all the sinners…which pretty much means that Jesus came for all of us!
Jesus came to us with the message of God’s great love and compassion for the world; he not only brought us the message that God was with us, he WAS the message of God’s presence in our world! And it is the risen Christ who has saved us from being lost to sin, for in the light of the resurrection we no longer need to worry about being ‘good enough’ for God’s love and forgiveness…as it is already ours: given as a free gift, something we cannot lose. In gratitude for all we have been given we are called to offer God our worship and praise, and to share the message with each other.
Sure it sounds easy, but it is not always…because to share Jesus’ message is to walk in his footsteps, and Jesus did not walk an easy road! Making it more difficult to follow Jesus is the fact that we are human and may not always feel grateful for what we have been given, especially when life does not always go the way we want, and we can sometimes come off like petulant children, which may seem somewhat familiar to us…
As parents, we know that our children may not always seem to appreciate what we do for them and that it could be a long time before we hear or see any demonstration of gratitude for all we have done; but then we are not in this whole single parenting thing to receive praise or even gratitude. Instead just as Jesus cares for us, we care for our children out of love and compassion, and our desire to see them not only do well, but to thrive.
Unfortunately, just as we often fail to live up to the call to follow Jesus, our children can fail to live up to our hopes and desires for them, and this can lead to our relationships becoming strained, and even broken…along with our hearts. Yet, despite any disappointment or pain we may feel, our love for our children never fails, just as God’s love never leaves us…no matter what we do.
What Jesus teaches us in today’s Gospel is to accept and love all those around us for who they are: imperfect, with both good and bad qualities; for we are all sinners, and have all fallen short of God’s glory, and we are all forgiven and loved by God!
We walk in the reality of this love every day, and so do our children; and in this love has the power to overcome our fears and disappointments, and replace them with the light of hope…hope in the healing power of God’s grace, which can restore relationships, and to keep us and our children safe, secure and on the right track in life, sometimes in spite of ourselves.
Jesus came to serve the poor, heal the sick, comfort those who mourn, and offer compassion to the lonely…Jesus came for the sinners without hope, for all of us! In the light of the resurrection, we are saved, not just from sin and death, but also from our broken-ness, our fears and our sorrow, free from worry about not being ‘good enough’ free to experience the joy of living, surrounded by the love of God…and free to share that love with our children and loved ones.
Living in the light of Christ, we are free to forgive and to be forgiven for falling short of God’s glory, and most of all, for making mistakes…and once we have this freedom from fear and from sin, we are freed to be the best parents we can, and to simply love our children in spite of any faults or failings we may have; and in this freedom, we are sharing the gospel (the good news) of God’s great love for us with our children and the world.
Let us Pray
God, thank you for loving us although we are imperfect sinners. Let us remember that we are surrounded by your grace, and do not need to beat ourselves up for our failings…as we are forgiven, and have been healed by the sacrifice of Christ. Help us to share this gift of grace with all those around us, especially our children, who can sometimes break our hearts, but never lose our love; just as we cannot lose yours. Let us also share your gift of grace out in our daily lives, with all we come into contact with: family, friends, co-workers, and strangers (even those who cut us off in traffic), remembering that we are all your well-loved children.