Gospel Luke 15:1-10
“The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say”
They sought him out.
Those who were outcasts in society, those who were used to being judged, publicly humiliated and otherwise ill-treated – they sought him out.
Aware of their own inability to live the ‘perfect life,’ and consequentially of their woundedness, these people see in Jesus that person who sees through their shortcomings to who they really are – and who affirms them: ‘It is good that you are.’
Those who encountered Jesus experienced being looked at in a new way – a way different to how others looked at them. This man did not equate them with their struggles, or their sinfulness – He did not allow them to be identified with their sin or as their sin.
Jesus, as we have seen in readings for these last few weeks, was no doubt a polarising person – he often had some harsh words. Somehow, though it was the most despised people who were drawn to him so strongly, and whom He welcomed so openly.
The parables taught here by Jesus, and that of the Prodigal Son which is so closely associated, give us a clue as to why these tax collectors and sinners were so attracted to him – Jesus is the very act of God in search of man.
Instead of condemning those struggling, those who suffer, His presence gives us – gives me – the reassurance that I am loved. That it is me who is sought after. It is then that I can, with confidence, turn to him – and receive the grace He offers to live well.
And He assures us that ‘there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.’
Words that give life
We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.
– St Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 2002, Toronto