As the figure of Matthew is introduced to the gospel that bears his name, a meal with “many tax collectors and sinners” becomes the occasion for Jesus to define his mission. Over the objection of the Pharisees to such a gathering, Jesus portrays himself as a physician come to care for the sick and colors in this portrait with the pointed remark, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
The implication, of course, is that the Pharisees were self-righteous and so they were not capable of responding to Jesus’ call to repentance. In their own eyes, they had no need for a savior because they became “right with God” through their own efforts. No need for the doctor here!
How much of our daily energy goes into trying to make ourselves “right with God?” Like avoiding a visit to the doctor’s office when we are ill (often devising our own treatments), we seem to avoid the Divine Physician as well. How different is the attitude of the great saints who know ever more deeply their need for God for the slightest good activity of each day! We think of a St. Therese who delighted in her own faults and weaknesses as places which would “draw” the love of God toward her in her littleness.
Can I rejoice in my own faults and weaknesses as places in which I can confidently find the mercy and love of the Savior? To the extent that I can, the sight of Jesus, the Divine Physician, will be welcome indeed!
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