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The good news for the day July 1

Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time (377)

Once when Jesus was walking along, he noticed a man (named Matthew) sitting at the tax office. He said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew got up and become a follower of Him. While Jesus was eating a meal in Matthew’s home, a number of tax collectors and disreputable people joined Him and were sitting with Jesus and his students. Observing this, some religious leaders, questioned his students, “Why is your teacher eating with tax collectors and disreputable people?” Jesus heard this remark and said, “Healthy people do not need a physician—sick ones do. Go and learn what these words mean, I prefer mercy to ritual sacrifice.” Jesus continues: “I did not come to invite righteous people, but sinful ones.” (Matthew 9)

How easily we religious people forget this aspect of Jesus. We prefer our fellow churchgoers; we prefer nice people, friendly people; we prefer the comfort of people who do not threaten our reputation, our acceptability, and our social status. We like people who have our financial equality, our way of dressing, the restaurants we go to, and our standards,

And yet it is not an external religion we want to practice—to now invite poor into our homes, or join a Thanksgiving Dinner offered by the big department store for poor people. That is not the point.

The point is your attitude, your outlook—your heart. Do you and I disdain “others,” forgetting our fundamental family equality? Jesus sees sinners as brothers, and suggests that anyone who seems superior to us—smarter, richer, more moral—are mistaken in their superiority, their religiosity, their smug self-confidence of their “righteousness”? You are the servant. Let others be “better than you.” Let others criticize your associations. Let others be prejudiced; let them tell you your faults. Feel—and show—your equality with all of us—your fellow sinners.

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