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Youth Ministry Resources - 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A: Matt 9:9-13 - I came to call sinners - 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

After a couple of months of the joyous season of Easter and some of our greatest feasts we continue with Ordinary time and return to reading from Matthew's Gospel. We learn that immediately after hearing the command of Jesus to come and follow him, Matthew instantly got up and followed him which presupposes that Matthew had some prior knowledge of Jesus and his mission.

An intimate part of the following of Jesus is to sit with Jesus at table and share a meal and this is when Jesus is criticised by the Pharisees. Dining with sinners seems to have been a genuine practice of this historical Jesus and it helps us to see the originality and the specific nature of the mission of Jesus. Due to the oppression by the Roman forces and the increasing scrupulousness of the Pharisees more and more people were becoming marginalised and it was to these 'lost sheep' that Jesus came.

The central issue in this reading is understanding what it is that God wants. Does God want us to be so rigorous and scrupulous in our interpretation of God's law that in doing so we add on so much human tradition that we lose sight of God's message? Jesus makes it clear and demands of those who stick to the letter of the law to "go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice." God's mercy is so all encompassing that is surpasses our meagre attempts and we can all stand in the shoes of the Pharisees by quickly judging those around us.

These 'sinners' that Jesus is associating with are those who through economic circumstances find themselves doing less than salubrious employment. 'Sinners' was a technical term for members of despised trades thought susceptible of ritual uncleanness and other blemishes eg herdsman, shopkeeper, butcher, tanner, doctor (blood-letter). Yet, a physician must expose themselves to the danger of contagious diseases in order to heal them.

I was at mass in a church where the altar was in the centre of the assembly and an inebriated aboriginal woman wandered in and eventually found herself drawn towards the altar and was about to take some communion breads when a member of the community gently walked beside her and led her to a seat. She eventually wandered out but at no time was she shamed or made to feel unwelcome, she was treated like a valued member of God's family, someone who is precious in God's sight and became a reminder for many of the need for prayer and be active participants in the reconciliation process that will afford dignity to all Aboriginal people. It is worth reflecting on how we treat all who attend our Eucharist.

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Youth Ministry Resources 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time