All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Some things never change. When this passage of Luke was written, tax collectors weren’t popular, and they still aren’t. So why is Jesus eating with them? And why does it matter to the Pharisees and scribes so much? I think part of the complaint was that Jesus had been a guest at a Pharisee’s table, and now that he is eating with sinners the Pharisees don’t look as important. Or maybe they are worried that people might see them as sinners too. Or maybe they’re grumbling because they want to be at the table too, but can’t bring themselves to join the “wrong” crowd.
Jesus’ response to their grumbling is a curious one. He starts talking about lost sheep and lost coins. He doesn’t give in to the Pharisees and scribes or send them on their way, instead, he tells them stories to show how God seeks community and celebrates it.
Are there times that you have felt excluded? Or times that you found yourself complaining because someone else had a seat at the table?
Join us this Sunday, September 15, at 6 pm, for Holy Eucharist and to hear God’s call to community and joyful celebration.