HE EATS & DRINKS WITH SINNERS
“After these things he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ So he left all, rose up, and followed him. Then Levi gave him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’” (Lk 5: 27-32)
Is our Lord using the word “righteous” sarcastically, in that last sentence? Yes. And is He being sarcastic, when He characterizes those who have “no need of a physician,” i.e., no need of Him, as those who are “well”? Yes. The scribes and Pharisees believe themselves to be “well,” but are they? They don’t partake of the “feast” we read about here, refusing food and drink, like sick people. While “sinners” eat and drink with the Lord, the scribes and Pharisees stand around complaining.
Whenever I’m preparing for Holy Communion, I remind myself of this picture, of us “sinners” eating and drinking with the Lord, in happy “need” of Him. We do not join in the Lord’s “feast” because we are “righteous,” no. We join in it precisely because we are not. So let me not deprive myself of the Food and Drink our Lord offers me, because He calls not the righteous, but the sinners to His table.