In today’s Gospel (Luke 5: 27-32) Jesus attends a party at Levi’s (Matthew) house. There was a large group of tax collectors and others.
The Pharisees were scandalised! They and the Scribes asked why Jesus and His disciples were eating with this group of sinners, why was He in this bad company.
Now Levi, also known as Matthew, had just left everything and followed Jesus, becoming an Apostle.
Jesus responded by saying “It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners”.
Of course, no-one is completely virtuous!
Those who had criticised Jesus considered themselves the virtuous. Others were sinners!
They were not allowing Jesus to heal them. They had closed their hearts.
Matthew and his friends opened their hearts and Jesus could reach them, help them to make a fresh start.
They were able to leave the past behind and change, Matthew himself becoming St. Matthew.
This beautiful time of Lent is about us letting Jesus help us to change, to grow.
When we acknowledge our need for healing, and let God renew us, we are able to grow.
We do not need to be trapped in our past mistakes, our sins.
There is also a reminder to us not to judge others. We can stereotype people. We can jump to conclusions about them.
Jesus warned us not to judge. He warned us not to become corrupt judges.
We also need both to be decisive with ourselves, to make decisions, to grow and change by the Grace of God, and to also be kind and compassionate with others and with ourselves.