Saturday 5 March 2022: Isaiah 58:9-14; Psalm 85(86):1-6; Luke 5:27-32
Jesus calls a tax collector - not a reputable, synagogue accepted, holy man, but a collaborator with an occupying army, to follow him. In Luke called Levi - elsewhere called Matthew, and at Jerhico, the fallen man Zachaus is called. Yet we are starting that time of disciplined observance, Lent. Another apparent contradiction at the very start of Lent?
Jesus responds to this apparent contradiction with two of his own, neatly explaining why. He came to call sinners, not the perfect, and to call the sick, not the healthy. Jesus is saying that it is not the details of the law that are important, but the purpose of the law. All that the law is meant to do is to bring people to God, to show us the way and guide us home. Recent synod discussions in our Parish, in the catholic press and elsewhere indicate that there is some tension to be found between the rules of the church, and the pastoral work of the church. The rules - for example, about family life and contraception - show us the way to a full life in God's love, but are not there to block or bar us from entering into that journey. Their purpose is clear, but our pastoral responsibility to each other is to encourage and accept all who seek Him.