‘Why does he eat* with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 17When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘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.’
Jesus is always doing things to upset the norms of his community. He has a higher purpose which only he knows and he does what he knows God wants him to do. He eats with the tax-collectors and sinners because as he says they are the ones who need Him most.
How would my life change if I worked at being there for people who needed me most? I think it is easy to be there for family and friends and even neighbors, but harder to reach out beyond our comfort zone to help people we do not know. It takes courage to work at a relationship with people who are not like us or who do not believe as we do.
Several weeks ago, my priest, Paul Pradat, spoke of a relationship just like this in one of his sermons. Dan Cathy, the chairman of Chic-Fil-A, and Shane Windermeyer, a writer for the Huffington Post, came together to start a friendship although they had very different views of marriage and anti-gay organizations. This friendship helped both men learn to talk with people with different beliefs, to respect the dignity of every human being, to find common ground amid their differences, to not be so serious about everything, and to learn to compromise. Check out this article about this awesome friendship http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2013/01/31/five-simple-lessons-from-shane-windmeyers-friendship-with-chick-fil-as-dan-cathy/22005
This is exactly what Jesus was modeling for us when he ate with the tax-collectors and sinners. I am going to try to live my life in such a way to be more tolerant of others who are different from me because I know we are all children of God and we all have important things to say.