YEAR B: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: DO NOT DESPISE SINNERS, RATHER SEEK THEIR CONVERSION
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 9:9-13) Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus meets Matthew, a tax collector. Jesus called him to follow Him. Matthew obliged and invited Jesus in his house. Other tax collectors and known sinners joined and the gathering drew a lot of criticisms from the Pharisees. They questioned Jesus’ company. The scene of Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners did not register well with them. Jesus heard the accusation and told them Pharisees that the sick, not the healthy, need doctors. Jesus meant to seek the conversion of Matthew and his friends.
It was damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. If Jesus will shy away from sinners, how would He able to communicate His message of conversion and salvation? On the other hand, if He mingles with them, there is the danger of being branded to be one with them as what happened in the Gospel. Jesus would not be dictated on by what others think. He was perfectly right in dining with them as a sign of His respect for them without necessarily condoning their actions.
Compassion is Jesus’ way, i.e. being merciful and doing something about their situation. Sinners always have a chance with Jesus. He gives them not only a second chance but unlimited chances. Society may at times give up on some by permanently limiting their space or depriving them of opportunities. Worse, they are even put to death thinking that it solves the problems of crime. Jesus had shown in His life and ministry that love changes and leads to holiness.
Revenge and getting even only escalates violence and hurt more people. Gandhi saw it when he proclaimed that the only way to peace is peace itself. “Peace” attained through wars and violence are not lasting and bereft of any ingredient of peace. The end is never justified by the means.
We ought to be thankful to have a God like Jesus. We can express well that gratitude by being compassionate too. We should be more understanding and forgiving of others. Yes, there is always that tendency to be abused. There are people who are abusive. But Jesus knows us better. We must have faith in Him. Whenever we see and encounter sinners, let us not shy away from the. Let us be ready to listen and accompany them towards conversion and love of God. That is the least we can do as gratitude to God who treated us in the same loving way.
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