Is There A Doctor In The House? Mark 2:13-17


Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them (that), “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

In this weeks study, we see Jesus call Levi (Matthew) the tax-collector and soon to be Apostle and Evangelist. The scriptures go on to tell us of a dinner at Levi’s house (that evening?) where, not only were Jesus’ disciples gathered with Him (which were many) there were also many tax collectors and sinners there as well.

Please allow me to stop at this point and do a bit of wondering about this dinner party. I wonder if it was a farewell party of sorts. I mean, Levi was leaving his lifestyle behind, all his friends and his co-workers. We must keep in mind that as a tax-collector for the Roman authorities, he and his co-workers were despised, not only by the religious Jews, but almost all of their fellow kinsmen. So these guys had  to stick together to have any external relationships at all! Was this Levi’s way of saying “Goodbye” to his only friends in the world? Or maybe, it was his way of introducing his “old friends” to his “new Friend”. The Friend who sticks closer than a brother. I’m not sure it matters much, in the grand scheme of things, what his reason was for bringing these two groups together – but together they were. The story continues…..

There was another group of people near by, not exactly there mind you, because that would make them unclean. This group of people were spying on Jesus, keeping tabs on Him and His disciples. They were the scribes who were Pharisees. And they ask Jesus’ disciples, Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?

With their question to the disciples, in essence, what they were saying was, “If he was so righteous, he would be more like us and not defile himself!” I’m sure we are all familiar with the self righteousness of the Pharisees, and if we are honest with ourselves, we frequently battle a pharisee within our selves. Is this not the heart of Jesus’ response to them, and to us today as well?

Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Are you well? Do you have no need of a physician? If you answered no to one or both of these questions; you are a liar. We all fall, be it daily or weekly or even hourly. There is always a need for us to be healed, because the only righteousness we are able to retain for ourselves is self righteousness! We are in need of the Great Physician’scure. We can receive it by repenting and confessing our sickness.

CCC 1428

Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.”  This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.

Will we hear and answer His call? Is there a doctor in the house!?

CCC 1503

Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.” His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

So this week, let’s stop kidding ourselves! Let’s stop excusing, justifying, sugar coating, ignoring or holding on to all our sins – whether in mind, heart or body – and let Jesus, the Great Physician, heal us and free us to love God in a more pure and perfect way. And by receiving His forgiveness, we can more readily testify to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and share the good news of healing and forgiveness with our neighbors.

Amen.

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4 Responses

  1. I need the doctor.

    Luckily I have a great one. 🙂

    Thanks for post!

  2. 🙂

    Thanks for the visit, Francois.

  3. This is a great post.

  4. Thank you, Richard.

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