Orthodox Mission – Hyde Park, Chicago

Mark 2:14-17 Gospel for 3rd Saturday of Lent

Mark 2:14-17 Gospel for 3rd Saturday of Lent

As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.  Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners? When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Christ has come to call the sick. As sickness becomes a problem for us now, we are warned by God: “see what sickness is?” Maybe it is you, maybe it is not you this time. Be warned! Whatever good we have done must be about establishing the truth of God’s power, not our own sense of “rightness” in this world. But we have developed a callous sense of our own goodness and superiority. As a callous, it has to be attacked by the filing off we do through repentance. It is a disgusting metaphor—but self-righteousness is disgusting, when it is confronted by the Physician of souls and bodies who must file away at our stony hearts with his Cross to get them to feel compunction, the sting of need and a desire for true health of soul in humility and gentleness. Christ is gentle, meeting the weak–it grates and tears at the callous hearts of the self-righteous, this meekness and gentleness. Let us be meek, let us follow him, facing him and sitting with the sinners as a sinner, with the weak as ourselves weak, with the sick as also in need of healing.