Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of November 24, 2002
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of November 24, 2002
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here
is a meditation from 'The Road to Emmaus,' a book of
daily meditations written by and for the LGBT community
of faith. These meditations start with a Gospel reading
and a meditation based on it written this week by Joseph
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Please read Matthew 18:10-20
'. . . and if your neighbor refuses to listen even to
the church, let that neighbor be to you as . . . a tax
To the Jews of Jesus' day, tax collectors were social
and spiritual outcasts, lumped together with gentiles,
sinners, murderers, and thieves. Pharisees would not
allow even the skirt of their robe to touch one of them.
And, of course, not all the tax collectors were innocent
victims. Most of them were untrustworthy and exploitive
participants in an unjust economic system, which gave
them wealth at the expense of their fellow citizens.
Yet Jesus cared deeply for these clever thieves. He
called Matthew to become one of his closest disciples
(Matthew 10:3). He invited himself to the home of
Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5). The Pharisees in fact complained
that Jesus ate with tax collectors (Matthew 9:11), and
there were those who derided Jesus as being a friend of
tax collectors (Matthew 11:19).
In the light of Jesus' deliberate outreach to tax
collectors, today's passage dealing with sinners in
the church cannot therefore mean, 'Three strikes and
you're out!' It is, rather, as if Jesus were saying,
"When someone seems to you to be the worst kind of
sinner, as traitorous and dishonest as a tax collector,
then treat that individual exactly as I treated the
tax collector, as the very person whom I am most eager
to befriend. Leave the others, if necessary, and find
a way to bring him or her home. For 'I have not come
to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance'"
It is significant that only Matthew records these
words of Jesus comparing sinners in the church to
tax collectors. As a redeemed tax collector, he
would have understood immediately that Jesus was
teaching us to see the sinner as one of us; a lost
sheep in need of God's grace, one for whom Jesus
goes out searching to find and bring it home.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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