“The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.'”
I suppose there are two ways we can respond to Jesus’ words from today’s Gospel. One would be, “Thank goodness I’m righteous. I don’t have to repent. ”
The other would be, “I’m a sinner. I guess He’s talking about me.”
Hopefully, your answer is the second one. How could any sane person believe that he was without sin? Yet, a lot of people must feel that way. Just count the empty seats in church this weekend. It’s just over a month and a half since Christmas. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day our churches were filled to capacity. Many had standing-room-only crowds. Where are those people now?
Now we’re at the beginning of Lent, the time when we’re called to prepare ourselves for the coming celebration of Jesus’ glorious resurrection. Fasting. Prayer. Charity. These are our three obligations. But more than obligations, these things are a prescription.
Jesus’ says to us, “‘Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.”
You and I are the patients. Jesus is the doctor. Our illness is sin and the remedy is His three-fold prescription. Fast. Pray. Be charitable. If you have the flu, you go to the doctor. He’s probably going to give you a prescription. If you expect to get well, you get the prescription filled and do whatever the doctor tells you to do.
Yet we all have the spiritual flu. We also have the prescription to make us well. The question is, do we follow the divine physician’s instructions as faithfully as we do our human doctor’s. Considering the consequences of our sin, the answer would seem obvious. But aparently to some folks, it’s not.