Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of God’s love and providence for His people, by calling them out of the darkness and into the light. In our Gospel passage today, we heard about how the Lord Jesus came to call the tax collectors and sinners to redemption, by reaching out to them and calling them to turn towards Him with full sincerity.
He came to call the sinners to be saved, as He wants everyone, every single one of us mankind to be part of His salvation, and not only just the righteous ones. This was what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were unable to comprehend, as of why Jesus did as He had done. At that time, it was considered unworthy, despicable and even sinful for one to deal in any kind of interaction with those deemed as sinful and wicked.
The tax collectors were deemed as those who were sinners due to their work, as those who collected the taxes on behalf of the Roman Emperor, a job despised by the rest of the Jewish population as they resented being made subjects of the Romans and having to pay lots of taxes to them. They were considered as traitors to the nation, having seen as betrayers and those who have sold their fellow countrymen for money.
Yet in reality, that was not a true depiction of who the tax collectors were. The tax collectors were just people who were doing what they have done, because they themselves need money and provisions to sustain themselves and their families. They were just ordinary people who were misunderstood by their fellow countrymen, and whom because of their work were often conflicted about their priorities in life.
But that is when the Lord Jesus came to save them from their predicament. He came to show them that there is hope for them should they choose to be forgiven and reconciled with God. This is when they saw the light of God, and therefore walked on the path towards redemption. This is affirmed by the Lord Himself Who spoke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, pointing out that He came to save those whom the Pharisees and teachers of the Law considered unworthy.
What the Lord wants us to know is that, every single one of us, every single human beings whom He created out of love, is beloved by Him, without exception. And as He had lost us all due to sin and disobedience, He endeavoured to bring us back to Him through the obedience of His Son Jesus, Who showed all of us how to be truly faithful to God. It is through our strong desire to be forgiven, and by our sincere repentance that we are able to find our way back to the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion, all of us are called to follow the Lord, Who called on the tax collectors and sinners with the words, “Follow Me!” If those tax collectors and those who were considered sinners had listened to the Lord and followed Him, then why should we not have done the same? Why is it that we stumble and hesitate to do the same?
That is because we are still plagued and held back by the many temptations of this world. We are unable to shake ourselves free from the many things that kept us bound to sin and to disobedience against God. All of us need to focus our every effort to turn away from those sinfulness and from all that had caused us to stumble on our way to the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us begin from ourselves and from our interactions with one another. Let us show our faith in God through our works, through our actions and words. Let us not be deterred by the challenges we may encounter in our way, but persevere through, supporting one another, and helping us on our way to God and His salvation. May the Lord bless us all and help us on this endeavour. Amen.