27 Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth.
"Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.
28 So Levi got up,
and followed him.
Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor.
of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.
the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly
to Jesus' disciples,
"Why do you eat and drink with such scum?"
31 Jesus answered them,
"Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do.
32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous,
but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."
I noticed something yesterday during the Pope's morning activities.
While he was at the Capital, he was very cordial to all he met, & gentle in his demeanor.
He walked through the halls of power of the most powerful nation on earth.
He was with some of the most powerful people of that nation - the elected lawmakers of the USA.
And his kind smile could be seen as he was greeted by many of varying levels of influence & power.
But he turned down an invitation to "do lunch" with the powerful of these people to go have lunch with some homeless people.
And I was struck by something I noticed...
When the Pope was with the Congressional leaders, he wore a gentle smile.
But when he dove into the crowd of homeless people waiting to have lunch with him, he was grinning ear to ear.
He was not only smiling with his grinning mouth, but he was smiling with his eyes all crinkled up.
It was clear to me, & I read in more than one place online,
that it was clear that even though he was pleased to meet the members of Congress,
he was much more happy to be with the homeless people at the soup kitchen.
Many consider the homeless of our nation to be scum.
A prevailing attitude toward low income / no income people in our nation is that they are lazy, shiftless, sorry, "working the system", & a drag on society.
Yesterday we saw a man show us without saying a word that even the homeless scum of Washington DC are of worth,
& were obviously the people he preferred to be with.
Jesus was someone who seemed to be very comfortable with scum of the earth.
The ones he was with at Levi's house were probably some of the wealthiest.
But they were still considered scum by the Pharisees.
Judging from what He had to say to the Pharisees most & the time, it seems evident to me that Jesus preferred being with people who were considered scum - no matter if they were wealthy or not.
Maybe we can take a lesson from Jesus' obvious preference for being with the people that the society back then considered low life's,
as well as the obvious preference of the Pope
(a man who has displays a strong desire to be like the Jesus he serves)
to be with people our today's society considers low life's, too.
Is there something to be said for plunging among people considered to be outcasts, rather than sucking after the powerful & influential?
Does that display more of Jesus' heart?