Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
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Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus 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, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
During my Christmas break, I flipped through the TV one night, stumbling upon “The Bible” TV series. One scene in particular jumped out at me.
Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane looking up at the full moon. He knew He had only a few hours left. He knew what was coming. He called out to His Father.
“If you will it, Father, pass this cup from me.” He said. the camera then flashed to the moon. Dramatic music began.
“If you will it…” Jesus repeated. Once again, a shot of the bright moon. God was listening. What would He say…? The music reached a climax. The suspense…
Jesus looked up. His accusers had arrived.
This is not the happily ever after Hollywood classics have trained us to expect. In our version, Jesus would have looked up at the moon. The dramatic music would build up the scene, and then suddenly, after all that anticipation, something miraculous would happen. Perhaps Jesus would float into the sky, a bright light shining on Him. Then He would strike down His enemies. He would save the day. He would avoid suffering.
But that’s not the way it happened. Jesus accepted it. He drank the cup that was meant for us. Jesus, the holiest One humankind will ever know, bore the weight of our sins on the Cross.
Why? Why did Christ stoop so low as to suffer for us? Why would the King of Glory eat with sinners and tax collectors? Doesn’t He realize we are nothing in comparison to His splendor?
He does. Jesus knows we are weak. He knows that we falter and fall and fail time and time again. For this very reason, He draws near to us. He knows we can’t do it alone. He offers us His hand always, regardless of the fact that we will undoubtedly reject it at times.
We are all sick. By the nature of our very humanity, we are imperfect. However, this fact should not discourage us. Yes, we are broken. Yes, we are weak. But we find consolation in the knowledge that we have a Savior so loving and so merciful that He would not only associate with us, but DIE for us, too.
Jesus is not afraid of your mess. He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty. He proved this each time he sat with sinners, reached out to lepers, and loved the unlovable. By his incarnation alone, He humbled Himself to share in our humanity. And if that’s not proof enough, He took on the weight of our sins, accepting His cup and drinking the grave so we would not have to.
Christ could have commanded angel armies to rush in from the heavens that night in Gethsemane. In a single instant, He could have crushed His enemies. He could have avoided the Cross, avoided all the pain. But He didn’t. The King of Kings endured ridicule, torture, suffering, and death through a sacrificed so full of profound love that we cannot even begin to fully comprehend its significance.
We lead lives full of twists and turns, trials and failures, mess-ups and redoes. But we have a Savior who’s not afraid of our mess. With Christ beside us, the twists and turns will not prevail. And that glorious ending…Well, I’d pick that over a Hollywood happily-ever-after any day. (0)
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- MK 2:13-17 homily