11 The Pharisees saw Jesus eating at the table with Matthew and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 He heard this and said, “Those who are well, do not need a physician, but the sick do.
13 Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”Matthew 9:11-13
Today’s Bible Quote of the Day Reflections
This was a very strong worded response by Jesus to the pharisees. They regarded all the tax collectors as sinners and themselves as the righteous.
The tax collectors had the bad reputation of harassing and robbing the people of their money while on the call of duty and therefore were treated with disdain by the so called righteous people.
Jesus now comes and sets the record straight. He says, He did not come to wine and dine with the righteous but to save sinners, make them repent and bring them to eternal life. The pharisees did not fully understood the mandate and the work Jesus Christ had been sent on earth to do.
Jesus argues that if someone feels he/she is righteous and therefore does not need Him then he/she wouldn’t need the attention and help of Christ the physician. For you to receive Christ then you must seek Him first, know Him, love Him and serve Him. This process is what Matthew, the tax collector was going through.
Due to our stubbornness and sins, God sent Jesus to us to drive us back to our God. If the world was full of righteous people then God would not need to send Jesus on earth.
I desire mercy not sacrifice! Why did Jesus use this phrase? This is because the pharisees were fond of showing off to the people how righteous they were by offering sacrifices to God. They thought that was the only way to appease God. Jesus comes and sets the record straight by telling the pharisees that, mere offerings mean nothing but what you do to other people around you especially the least of our brothers.
Showing mercy and love to our neighbours is more important than just giving money offering during offertory session in mass. Giving food to a hungry stranger is more important than buying expensive gifts to your rich friends. Paying school fees for a poor child is more important than building an ultra-modern school for the rich kids. Visiting and eating together with the sick in the hospital, orphans in a children’s home or prisoners is more important than wining and dining with the high and mighty in five-star hotels.
Let us today embrace humility, love and mercy towards others just as Jesus has taught us. Let us prioritize our neighbours than ourselves and God in heaven will reward us in equal measure.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You have taught us to be humble, loving and merciful to our neighbours. Strengthen our hearts and souls so that we may never waver away from this solemn call to unconditionally serve others from our hearts. Amen