Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday in Easter 7: The lowliest of people and the lowest people in the highest of places

Opening Sentence
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

Commemoration: Bede
Heavenly Father, who called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 102

Lessons: Jeremiah 31:27-34, Ephesians 5:1-20, Matthew 9:9-17

Jesus was willing to associate with both the lowliest of people and the lowest people in the highest of places.

"Tax collectors and sinners" represent two extremes of the economic ladder. Tax collectors ran a profitable racket, skimming money off the top of their collections for Rome. They were looked down upon as collaborators with the enemy.

"Sinners" were the riff-raff of society, looked down upon by the elites as undeserving of any favors. They probably didn't have enough money to do the tax collectors any good. Nevertheless, they probably hated the tax collectors as symbols of the pampered elite who had sold their souls to Rome for a profit.

When Jesus came along, these two opposite groups came together around him. In Jesus, both the tax collectors and the sinners saw what was missing in their lives--a genuine relationship with God which transformed the whole person. There's no diversity here; only a common recognition of a common need.

(JAG)

Oh Lord, You're Beautiful