Saturday after Ash Wednesday (2)

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In our call out culture we love to point the finger as happened to Jesus when he ate with tax collectors and sinners. But Jesus ate with anyone who seemed a seeker, Pharisee or tax collector. He listened and spoke to their heart so that, as in the first reading, they would repent. Thus we must listen to sinners, be involved with sinners, hoping to find where they are sick and bring healing. Then it will not be them inviting Jesus to their tables, but Jesus inviting them to his.

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He Ate with Tax Collectors and Sinners


The “pointing finger” is characteristic of our society

We love to blame someone else, but rarely do we say, “by my fault, by my fault”
The finger is pointed at Pope Francis because he has not condemned Vladimir Putin strongly enough, but of course, when we point we cannot listen, so they have no idea that he might be trying to do something useful
And so whenever anyone comes to public notice, rather than listening and understanding the person, the finger is pointed

Jesus in our gospel was “called out”

He went to many meals and banquets, some by Pharisees, some by common people, and this one by a tax collector
He was indiscriminate in whom he ate with - as long as they were seekers, interested in him, he did not demand that they clean up their act first, certainly not that they do it to the satisfaction of the Pharisees. He did not even demand it of the Pharisees.
[Interestingly enough, when he himself provides a meal, it is for disciples only, whether in the upper room or on the shore of the Sea of Galilee]
Because they were pointing the finger they could not see that Levi had left everything and followed Jesus, just as they not be able to see that Zacchaeus said, “The half of my goods I give to the poor, etc.” That is “lavishing one’s food on the hungry and satisfying the afflicted” if ever I heard of it.
Nor could they understand, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” Of course, it is only the sick who know they are sick and want to be healed who seek a physician. And the physician does not ask that they get better first, but that they be willing to do what he asks or be willing to allow him to treat them.
The Pharisees, of course, are sick, but they do not know that they are sick. It again reminds me to Pope Francis who did deplore the use of military force, but those who wanted him to simply name one side forgot that he had also condemned military violence in Syria and that they were involved in the violence.

Sisters, avoid “the accusing finger and malicious speech”

But do not be surprised if you do that fingers end up pointing at you for not joining in the general anxiety
Rather, like a good physician, listen. You will discover who is seeking. Given a call to repentance (physicians do this too in their own way) and you will find who are ready to repent. Often they will be the more obvious of sinners.
But to listen to sinners, to understand sinners, or to understand Pharisees, you will have to “eat with them,” rub shoulders with them, so to speak. As Pope Francis says, we need to have the “smell of the sheep,” which does not defile, except in the eyes of those who cannot listen.
Then invite them to become disciples of Jesus, the best physician ever. You will indeed find that they it will soon be that Jesus is not only sitting at their banquets, but the he is in fact inviting them to his.


Catholic Daily Readings 3-5-2022: Saturday after Ash Wednesday


Isaiah 58:9b–14

9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,

you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!”

If you remove the yoke from among you,

the accusing finger, and malicious speech;

10 If you lavish your food on the hungry

and satisfy the afflicted;

Then your light shall rise in the darkness,

and your gloom shall become like midday;

11 Then the LORD will guide you always

and satisfy your thirst in parched places,

will give strength to your bones

And you shall be like a watered garden,

like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people shall rebuild the ancient ruins;

the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;

“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,

“Restorer of ruined dwellings.”

13 If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,

from following your own pursuits on my holy day;

If you call the sabbath a delight,

the LORD’s holy day glorious;

If you glorify it by not following your ways,

seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—

14 Then you shall delight in the LORD,

and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;

I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,

for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Catholic Daily Readings 3-5-2022: Saturday after Ash Wednesday


Psalm 86:11ab

11 Teach me, LORD, your way

that I may walk in your truth,

single-hearted and revering your name.


Psalm 86:1–6

1 A prayer of David.

Incline your ear, LORD, and answer me,

for I am poor and oppressed.

2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted;

save your servant who trusts in you.

You are my God; 3 be gracious to me, Lord;

to you I call all the day.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant;

to you, Lord, I lift up my soul.

5 Lord, you are good and forgiving,

most merciful to all who call on you.

6 LORD, hear my prayer;

listen to my cry for help.

Catholic Daily Readings 3-5-2022: Saturday after Ash Wednesday


Ezekiel 33:11

11 Answer them: As I live—oracle of the Lord GOD—I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die, house of Israel?


Luke 5:27–32

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. 29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”


Catholic Daily Readings 3-5-2022: Saturday after Ash Wednesday




First Reading Isaiah 58:9b–14

Response Psalm 86:11ab

Psalm Psalm 86:1–6

Gospel Acclamation Ezekiel 33:11

Gospel Luke 5:27–32

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