As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “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.” While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district. ~ Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
Earlier this week, God said that God desires love, not sacrifice.
Here, Jesus paraphrases that to mercy, not sacrifice. But really, are they different?
Where does mercy come from? And where does mercy go?
For Jesus, mercy seemed to go to those who seemed never to get it: sinners and those whom the rest of the world deemed unworthy of it.
Tax collectors. Prostitutes. Lepers. Women suffering from menorrhagia (menstrual bleeding that lasts more than 7 days); the poor, the lame. And the dead.
Who are those who don't get mercy now?
Criminals. The mentally ill. Those who are differently abled. The poor. Black and brown people. LGBTQ+ people, including trans people.
As Christ's church - a people called to love - how do we show mercy? Whom do we show mercy to?
Who is it that it is difficult for us to show mercy to?
Maybe for you it is someone who is gay. Maybe it is someone who is a refugee or asylum seeker. Maybe it is someone of a different racial group or ethnicity.
Maybe it is someone from a different political party or religious background .
Who is it you are being called to show mercy to that maybe you've struggled to show mercy to before?
Your doors are open to all people, Lord. Help me not to block anyone's entrance. Amen