Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Readings: Isaiah 58:9b-14; Luke 5:27-32
“The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’” (Luke 5:30)
To become complacent in the life of faith is spiritual death. Most often, it happens incrementally as we let go of idealism in favour of pragmatism, or surrender mystery to embrace apparent certainty.
It will manifest itself in a variety of ways but will usually include the comfortable assumption that we have worked out who God is and what God wants. The reality of God no longer challenges us, and God becomes, to some extent ‘domesticated’. We need to move beyond this, and fast – for it is spiritual death.
Today, Jesus challenges this complacent attitude in the religious leaders of his day primarily by his example. They are not happy that he associates with ‘the wrong people’. As far as Jesus is concerned, there is no such thing as the ‘wrong people’. These are just people who God loves, and who are at a particular point of the journey on which we are all pilgrims.
It can be either confronting or consoling to realise that we belong to a faith that holds that there are no ‘wrong people’. Yes, there are behaviours that are problematic and which require attention (the primary ones Jesus seems concerned about are itemised in his account of the last judgement in Matthew 25). However, each of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, are always welcomed by Jesus if we turn to him.
Which is just as well, otherwise neither you nor I would dare come into his presence.
Reflection by Shane Dwyer.
Reproduced with permission from Evangelisation Brisbane, an agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, who have kindly supplied these daily Lenten 2021 reflections from their publication Look to Jesus: 52 Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter.