Today’s reading begins with “the Pharisees” complaining that “the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around Jesus”. Notice Luke denotes those gathering around Jesus as “tax collectors and sinners”, a narrative device to get us to sympathise with the Pharisees perhaps? It’s easy for us to jump straight on in this story to the beauty of Jesus seeking after the 1 whilst trusting the safety of the 99 to His Father, for us to be made to feel special as the ones that Jesus would seek for, and we should. What I find fascinating though as I read this today is that one of the things that a lot of us like so much about Jesus, that He associated with sinners, tax collectors and all, was, according to Mosaic law, rightly called in to question by the Pharisees. In a sense they were right to grumble. Jesus was proving that He was unsuitable to be who He claimed to be because of His associations, and yet, ultimately it was these associations and His willingness to die, rise and ascend that gave us hope. I suppose I feel a bit sorry for the Pharisees. They were trying to keep order, and honour God, as they had been taught, and Jesus made it increasingly difficult for them to do so. It is interesting to me that they got close enough to Him to find out what He was doing too.
So, a couple of questions: Are there things about how we live our life of faith that actually hold us back? Are we more interested in doing things right than keeping in step with what God is doing? How are we doing at keeping the balance between growing relationships and honouring tradition?