On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 NIV
“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal.” Aldo Leopold
I remember seeing signs and posters all over my elementary school with quotes similar to this one by American author and ecologist Aldo Leopold. Although while reading through chapter two of Mark this quote was something that came to mind, what the author of Mark describes is a bit different. In the second chapter of Mark, Jesus was doing what was right with everybody watching even though it was not what was expected. In fact, Jesus was openly going against some of the teachings of the time. Jesus was forgiving sins, something the teachers of the law claimed only God could do. Jesus welcomed the sinners and tax collectors to his table, something the Pharisees noticed and commented on in an attempt to tell Jesus off. Jesus had the reply that he came not for the healthy but for the sick. Those that are looking for healing.
The end of the second chapter finds Jesus saying that the Sabbath was created for man. The Sabbath is our day of rest, but as Jesus shows us, it is not a day of rest from spreading the love and welcome on behalf of Jesus. Even though it is our day of rest, we are still called to open our table to others. Our acts of welcome can be a way for us to show our resistance against the norms of a society that ostracizes and groups people as unworthy of being at our table. Our acts of welcome are sometimes the opposite of what is expected of us in our communities.
Sometimes the thing we know that is right can be difficult to do. Sometimes it leads to unintended consequences. Sometimes it will rub some people the wrong way. Even those who are in power. But when we see those who are in power not inviting all to the table, it is time for us to follow Jesus’ example and make sure that those who are left out know they have a place of safety at our table.
Holy One, thank you for the examples you have given us of how to be the church on earth. Please guide us and give us strength to do what is right even when it is difficult. Help us to find those who need to be invited to our table for our Sabbath meal. Amen.