September 21, 2016 - The Preferential Option for the Poor

While he was at table in [Matthew’s] house,

many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Matthew 9:9-13

Theologians often cite Jesus’s “preferential option for the poor” – a theme of preference being given to the poor and downtrodden over the rich and powerful.  It is more accurate, however, to include the sinner as receiving preference over the righteous as well.  Time and again, it is the one who acted immorally who gets at least equal, if not more, attention:  the vineyard workers, the Prodigal Son, the lost sheep.

Faith is not about understanding the moral code God expects us to follow.  It is about the moral code God follows – and how different it is from our own.

Photo: Stained Glass, St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church, Norwalk, Connecticut