Prayer of the Day

Feast of St. Anthony, Abbot

January 17th, 2015
""Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"" Mark 2 : 16

To-day’s Gospel tells how Jesus called Levi (Matthew) the tax collector to be one of his chosen twelve Apostles.  As a tax collector working for the Romans Matthew would certainly not have been popular with the Jewish people.  But he was even more despised by the Jewish leaders who regarded him as a sinner because of his contact with the Gentiles.   Whatever about his background Matthew responded quickly and wholeheartedly to the call of Jesus and invited him to dinner at his home.  Of course Our Lord brought his disciples and friends,  many of whom were tax collectors and sinners,  with him.  The Pharisees were indignant that Jesus should befriend these social outcasts.  Sharing a meal was a sign of acceptance,  of oneness,  of communion.  These ‘sinners’ didn’t even observe the Jewish law in its totality!   It was this that prompted the Pharisees to question why Jesus ate with such people.  Our Lord’s answer is well known; “Those who are well have no need of a physician,  but those who are sick.  I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Mark 2 : 17)   Since the Church is the Body of Christ in the world to-day it must continue to be the home of sinners.  We are all sinners in need of God’s mercy.  The Church calls everyone,  even those furthest from her to experience the forgiveness and love of our Heavenly Father.  God is always waiting for us with open arms just as the Father was waiting for his prodigal son.  As members of the Church let us open ourselves daily to God’s mercy and show that mercy to others especially to anyone who may feel rejected.

Prayer "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." Amen (Luke 18 : 13)