Gospel: Mt 9:9-13
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom-house; and he said to him, “Follow me!“ And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew‘s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why is it, that your master eats with sinners and tax collectors?“
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.“
A pastor once ran into a “lost sheep“ of his parish. This man had stopped going to church a long time ago. The pastor gently invited him to return to church. The man said with no little self-righteousness: “Father, I don‘t go because the church is full of crooks and hypocrites.“ And the pastor responded: “If so, please do come. We can always make room for one more.“
The Church belongs to saints and sinners alike. Perhaps more sinners than saints, for the Church exists for their sake: “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do.“ We go to Church not to proclaim our righteousness to the world, but to humbly declare our sinfulness and need for God, and to receive His mercy and healing. By calling Matthew to belong to his band of apostles, Jesus makes it clear that from the greatest to the least in the Church, everyone is sinful and all stand in need of God‘s mercy.