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Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

Jesus didn’t seem bothered by anyone’s occupation. Whether it was admirable or shady he treated each person with dignity. Matthew’s job was shady, one in which it was customary to charge a person more tax than prescribed by law and then pocket the extra. Tax collectors at that time were probably looked upon as being greater sinners than ordinary thieves, swindlers, and defrauders. We are told that Jesus dined at Matthew’s house with many other tax collectors and people “known as sinners.”

Jesus must have had a lot of courage. We might want to show our regard for each and every person, we might like to treat people of all professions and walks of life equally and with dignity, but we find ourselves afraid of many of them. To go to the house of those very unlike yourself (or invite them into your own), to be with those who break the law and seem to have little regard for the commandments of God or for the rights of people takes a lot of courage. We might be putting not only our reputation on the line, but also our lives. It is certainly not easy to allow yourself to be with those who live on the edge, with those you are not sure you can trust. Many people do not help other people simply because they are afraid of them.

Seems like a pretty good reason, doesn’t it? Jesus had a lot of courage. He went everywhere and associated with everyone of any ilk (kind). Remember that!

No matter what you have done in the past, no matter what you are into now or in the future, Jesus will associate with you, even love you. I doubt that he cared for nor approved of dishonest tax collecting. It was Matthew and his friends that he loved. He loves you too — no matter what.

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