Select Page

I’ve been reading this commentary on the gospel of St. Mark. The author gets into a verse in chapter two after He calls Levi to follow Him, who would become St. Matthew. He talks about how Christ goes to Levi’s house, and the Pharisees see Christ eating with tax collectors and sinners, and they were indignant asking why He would do such a thing. The author makes a point well yeah, of course, Christ would, who else would Levi invite? He had no other friends. Tax collectors were extremely hated and classified with murders and robbers, so no one else would hang out with them. Pious people usually did whatever they could to stay away from “sinful” people. Christ responds, saying that those who are sick do not need a physician. I am sure we’ve heard this verse many times, but the author then says something obvious yet overlooked. A doctor goes to the sick person’s homes with sickness surrounding him, right? However, he still goes without being afraid of getting sick because it’s his job to go where illness is. “In the same way, Christ also did not come to call righteous people, but the sinners.”
Although, Christ still does, of course, call the righteous. In Jewish literature, comparing is often made to make a point. For example, in Hosea 6:6, it says God desires “loyalty and not sacrifice.” God desires sacrifice, but He is saying, “sacrifice is nothing without loyalty.” Another example is in 1 Corinthians 13, when St. Paul compares a few things to not having love equates those things to nothing. Likewise, yes, Christ does call the righteous but more so the sinners.

In a way, I do the same as the Pharisees presently. I may isolate myself from certain people labeling them as more of a sinner than I am. I judge and think with disdain about people who do certain things, whether it’s drinking, drugs, sex, homosexuality, or whatever it is. But there’s a reason for it; there’s a reason why one can become so judgemental. I judge others because I cannot bear the weight of my own judgment. I am hard on others because I’ve had enough of being hard on myself. So I relieve that pressure by dumping it onto others, taking the spotlight off myself. I cannot bear the shame of my own sin, so I compare myself to others in a self-righteous manner to calm my wounded ego. The wild part is sometimes it can happen when I am not even aware of it. We can find comfort in that the Church in her wisdom prays for the forgiveness of sins, “committed willingly and unwillingly and those which we have committed knowingly and unknowingly, the hidden and manifest.”
Although, that does not excuse me from reviewing myself and allowing God to reveal my weakness. May we have the vulnerability like the two blind men to say to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened [that we may see our self-righteousness.]”