Today’s Thoughts: I know I am a little late today but yesterday was a long and busy day so I am moving a little slower than usual today!
I am always struck by the sentence in our first reading from the Letter to the Hebrews that says: “The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
As a preacher, I am always humbled and in awe of the Word of God and how many time I can go to it and be changed, be challenged and be surprised. For thirty years, I have been reading, reflecting on and proclaiming the Word of God and it never ceases to touch my heart and my soul.
As our Gospel points out today, Jesus didn’t always hang out with the right crowd. In the eyes of the Pharisees and other religious leaders Jesus invited the sinners and tax collectors in and ate with them. Think of our culture and our society today, the in crowd and the out crowd. Our judgmental nature at times leads us to put people in categories so we can feel better about ourselves. But we are all God’s people.
In our readings today, the message is one of hope, redemption and challenge. Hope and redemption for us, when we fall short, when we sin, that we can still be invited to the table. The dark parts in us do not have to take over. The message also challenges us to see beyond labels and stereotypes, and more importantly, even with those boxes and labels, to open our own hearts and give people a chance, the same chance and opportunity that we would hope to receive from others.
Perhaps the living Word of God today creates a link between Jesus sitting around a table with tax collectors and sinners and the world we often fall into of boxes, labels and stereotypes. We can ask God to help us peel back layers, to open our hearts to God’s mercy, grace and love.
Have a great Saturday afternoon and evening.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...