“The Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Luke 5:30-31)
It is easier to notice the speck in my neighbours’ eyes than the logs in mine. It is easier to preach to others than to examine my conscience. It is easier to point fingers at those in the government than to be a good leader. I may be very good at diagnosing others’ illnesses but if I never go for a check-up (allow myself be diagnosed), I might die without medical attention.
Isaiah tells us in our first reading today that one of the sins that God hates is the pointing of fingers. To put it simply, if we have the habit of gossiping about others, running them down (character assassination), we could prevent our prayers from being heard by God. In the book of Revelation, the devil is described as the “accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10).
Those who are good at pointing out the sins of others do not often examine their own hearts; they easily develop a sense of self-perfection. When they are wrong, they find it very difficult to admit and they are ready to eliminate anyone bold enough to tell them the truth.
There are two kinds of sinners; those who admit they are sinners and are willing to repent and those who believe they are perfect. Jesus gave the parable of a physician with reference to the second group. Unlike the Pharisees, Levi admitted his faults, he knew he needed a physician. While the Pharisees were busy running their mouths, Levi and his friends were becoming converts.
Later on, Jesus would say: “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:31-32). Rather than exert your energy on pointing fingers at others, use it to develop yourself. Become the change you would like to see in others. Don’t stop at verbally condemning evil, let your actions speak out too!
If you really desire to change others for good, then apply Jesus’ method. Make friends with sinners; show love to them; eat with them and as the prophet Isaiah says: “pour ourselves out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted that your light may rise in the darkness.” (Isaiah 58:10). Note that by eating with tax collectors, Jesus was not approving of their misdeeds, rather, like the Prodigal Father welcomed them back with a feast.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to notice the log in my eyes before removing the specks in others. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 58:9-14, Ps. 86:1-6, Luke 5:27-32).