Saturday, January 13th

1 Sam. 9: 1-4.17-19:10: 1a     Mark 2: 13-17

Theme: “I came for Sinners”

In the gospel reading of today from St. Mark, Jesus points out the fact that he is interested that all of us his children attain salvation at the end of our earthly life. This is made clear today as Jesus associates himself with tax collectors and sinners, according to the Scribes and Pharisees. All this took place during the call of Levi, also known as Mathew, the tax collector. The Scribes and Pharisees cannot stand the fact that Jesus is eating and drinking with those they refer to as sinners.

Then, Jesus used the opportunity to teach them about his mission, he came for the sinners, not the righteous. It is the sick that is need of healing, not those who are healthy. So, according to the assertion of Jesus, it is the tax collectors and sinners that needs his presence, because they also have right to salvation; they are also children of Abraham. Remember, we are still talking about the same God who is ready to live the 99 in search of the one that has strayed.

The attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees is what some of us practice, even in our own time. We classify some people as sinners and place a tag on them. Today Jesus is telling us that it is a wrong way to treat our brothers and sisters, this is because strictly speaking, we all need the mercy of God and should not be discriminating against one another. If anyone feels he or she is righteous, then you must make effort like Jesus did in todays gospel to help those you feel have got it wrong and has taken the wrong path in life. This is because our desire as children of God is that we all attain salvation at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, not that you alone make salvation.

This is one of the things we must learn from the assertion of Jesus Christ in today’s gospel. We are all children of God, so we must try to support one another, so that we can collectively attain salvation at the end of our earthly life. Those who are strong should support those who are weak and help them back to the right path, and not to stay away from them and allow them to continue to drift away from God. This is what Jesus has taught us today and wants us to practice in our lives as children of God. None of us is too good for others or too bad to also support others. It is a collective effort that can help all of us attain salvation at the end of our earthly life. As you do this, may almighty God bless you in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, Amen. Peace be with you.

Saturday, January 13th, Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.SSp