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Who Sits At Your Table?

– Friday 13th Week in Ordinary Time –

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”  [Matthew 9:12-13]

Imagine being in that room, reclining at that table where you usually feel at ease. But this time, there is someone there amongst your friends that you don’t know, and this person has caught the attention of people with influence and status. You can feel their disapproving eyes flickering from one person to the next; until they mumble something judgmental – which happens to be overheard by the stranger that has attracted their attention.

 

You feel uncomfortable, you don’t know who this stranger is, but you can sense that there is something very good about him and that these other people are right; you don’t belong at this table with him. But instead of confirming the judgments being passed around, the stranger insists that he and everyone at this table are exactly where they should be. Your heart fills with peace at that moment, and you settle in a little more comfortably at the table.

 

This scene in the gospel of Matthew has always brought feelings of reassurance and relief. But today, it also reminded me that I had been both the out-of-place sinner and the judgemental Pharisee throughout my life. This is not something any of us wish to admit. However, even at the best of times, we can forget Jesus’ words and actions. In this story, you and I not only experience the reality of being both the sinner and the Pharisee but we are also invited into the reality of taking on the role of Jesus. To set tables for everyone we encounter, not just a few.

So my question to us all today is, ‘who sits at your table?’

 

by Anne-Marie Williams


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