1st Week in Ordinary Time, January 13, 2024

Fr. Rick’s One Minute Homily for Saturday, Mark 2:13-17

Condemned? Not Anymore.

What is your first thought when someone tells you they have Covid? If you are with them, you back off and stay away until they test negative. People with COVID-19 isolate themselves until they test negative.

The positive test results are the evidence that convicts them from socializing with others. We all know that in a court of law, the prosecution must produce evidence that shows that a defendant has committed a crime. Based on overwhelming evidence, the jury convicts the one charged as guilty.

In the times of Jesus, the whole society was the court of law! They did not base their judgment on a single act or several acts but on a person’s lifestyle. Thus, the publicans and sinners were already condemned in the Pharisees’ minds and hearts. They were dead as it were, and like lepers in yesterday’s Gospel, must be avoided at all costs.

Why? Because they didn’t want to be dead either through contamination or association with such people. It’s like these public sinners had COVID-19. Stay away. Jesus could care less about being contaminated, condemned, or dead to these experts. He knew that day would come during His Passion.
Jesus’ court was not about law or justice. It was a court of mercy. The law is superficial and considers only the acts. Mercy is total and pours into a person’s heart where the good they would like to do is set free.
Jesus called Levi, now named Matthew, because Mathew could also extend God’s mercy to others. Matthew learned on the day Jesus called him from his sinful table that Jesus puts the person first before anything else.

Gospel Challenge:
Unlike Jesus, our human nature is ready to condemn a sinful act and the person committing it simultaneously. Let’s walk up to a Levi in our lives and get to know them. God’s mercy in us will forgive them and welcome them to accompany us as we follow Jesus. Pray to be the mercy of the Lord, and you will.

Love Your Neighbor:
Please join me in praying for all baptized Catholics to be faithful to Jesus in the Holy Mass every weekend. Hail Mary, full of grace…
Mother Mary, “I am yours now and forever. Through you and with you, I always want to belong completely to Jesus.” The Surrender Novena – InHeartland. https://inheartland.com/pages/the-surrender-novena

Peace be with you.

Fr. Rick Pilger, I.C.

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