guess who's coming to dinner?
"The Pharisees and the scribes of their party said to His disciples, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and non-observers of the law?' " —Luke 5:30
The Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus why He ate His meals with sinners. During His public ministry, Jesus could have answered them: "If I didn't eat with sinners, I'd have to eat all My meals by Myself!" However, Jesus didn't come to earth to avoid sinful humanity; instead, He came to seek out and save us (Lk 19:10).
When people noticed that Jesus was staying at the house of Zaccheaus, they "began to murmur, 'He has gone to a sinner's house as a guest' " (Lk 19:7). The righteous were scandalized, but Zacchaeus "welcomed Him with delight" (Lk 19:6). Jesus didn't come to the world to condemn and avoid sinners (Jn 3:17), but to love and save them. Jesus knows that all heaven rejoices when a sinner repents (Lk 15:10), even if many on earth do not.
Much of Jesus' public ministry involved Jesus eating good meals with sinful people. Most of the time, the sinners with whom He ate responded to His love with faith and delight. They repented and believed in God (Mt 21:31). Because of this love for us, Jesus "was counted among the wicked" (Is 53:12). "It was our infirmities He bore" (Mt 8:17), our reputations that He embraced and shouldered. Though innocent, He, in effect, became sin so that "we might become the very holiness of God" (2 Cor 5:21). May we be like Jesus and have His heart of compassion for all.
Prayer: Jesus, "I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall return to You" (Ps 51:15).
Promise: "Leaving everything behind, Levi stood up and became His follower." —Lk 5:28
Praise: Meals and Masses shared regularly with other community members help build up Mary's home-based community.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004