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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of November 24, 2002

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 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
      W. Houle.

      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
      collector.'

      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'"
      (Luke 5:32).

      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.

      Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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