The WORD in Other Words by Fr Narciso Cellan SVD (Philippines) for Saturday After Ash Wednesday
Asking the ‘why question’ can be tricky. It gives us unexpected, surprising and piercing answers or reveal disarming, discomforting yet truthful insights. Both cases apply to the Pharisees and scribes in today’s gospel when they asked Jesus’ disciples about the Lord’s reason for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus’ answer was pointed and loaded: “The healthy ones do not need a doctor, the sick ones do.”
The message was clear beyond dispute. Jesus’ answer should leave us wondering about our own ability to tend to the physically, emotionally, but more so spiritually sick.
First, we need to shed off our pretensions of being healthier and better-shaped than others. We are not. Doing self-diagnostic tests on our spiritual wellbeing and feeling good about the results can be dangerous when we use ourselves as measures to judge others, who in our own estimate often pale in comparison to ourselves. Such attitude is already indicative of our own malady, which illustrates that we are actually not okay.
Jesus’s answer to the ‘why question’ of the scribes and Pharisees should have made these people realize that they too were sick, and so were in need of the Lord, the Great Physician. They missed that part. Perhaps they were too weak and sick to see through the meaning of Jesus’ words. They could not wrap their minds around the idea that they were actually in the same boat as the tax collectors and public sinners, and so they too needed Jesus. Instead, they hated and despised Him. They even wanted Him to stop taking care for the lesser members of society.
It’s difficult to beat self-righteousness; doing so requires a strong dosage of humility. As always, the Lord can help us, but only if we let Him cure us.
Source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020