18 January 2020 – Saturday of week 1 in Ordinary Time

The alleluia may serve as the title for today’s Gospel: “The Lord Sent Me to Bring Glad Tidings to the Poor.” Mark tells us that Jesus encountered Levi, the Tax Collector, and asked him to come and eat with him. Since the crowd also included scribes who were Pharisees, they characteristically questioned Jesus’ choice of table companions. Why does he eat with Tax Collectors and other sinners? Jesus answered with only a few words, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He brought glad tidings to the poor. Not only the poor in possessions and power, but to those who are poor in spirit, faith, or in support. He is, in short, inviting all of us to be with him; the glad tidings are for all of us, not only to those who consider themselves to be righteous. It is a lesson that we should reexamine in the context of our present life. Are we, like the Pharisees, too quick to judge, condemn, or reject from our society those who do not agree with us, are not from our culture, or may be seen as sinners? We are all sinners, but Jesus loves us. He has called us to love and to accept each other as he has loved us.