The Church will not grow if we never leave the walls of the parish:
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them (that), “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” -Mark 2:16-17, NAB
In Mark 2:13-14, we learned that Jesus welcomes sinners to follow Him, then Mark 2:15-16 teaches us that we, as sinners, must build a personal relationship with Christ. Today, in Mark 2:16-17, we learn to share what we have learned with other sinners.
The Pharisees loved to test and question Jesus. They were the religious leaders of the time, and they used that position to question Christ’s actions and teachings. In this verse, they questioned Him eating with sinners. This was unheard of in their culture. How could He eat with these vile people?
Christ, in a very wise statement, tells them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do…” He turned their question around on them. The Pharisees tried to make Jesus look bad, but they were the ones who looked bad in the end. In one sentence, He turned their world upside down.
When He began His ministry, Jesus went out searching for sinners. He did not stay within the walls of the temple preaching to the faithful. Instead, He traveled from town to town reaching out to anyone willing to listen. Do we reach out? Do we go beyond the walls of the temple, our local parish, to reach out to the sinners of the world?
If our entire Catholic life is contained within the four walls of the parish, the Church will never grow. Or, if our Catholic life does not go beyond our own home, we will never grow. As a sinner, we have accepted Jesus. As a sinner, we have developed a personal relationship with Him. Now, as a sinner, we have to reach out to other sinners.
In five short verses from Mark 2:13 to Mark 2:17, we see the journey of a sinner. It begins with accepting Christ’s forgiveness, it continues with developing a personal relationship with Him, and it ends when we share what we have learned with others. What step are you on? Wherever you may be on your faith journey, it’s time to take the next step.