Did you ever find it odd that so many of the Gospel stories have Jesus interacting with the outcasts of society? It seems that for most of his public life, Jesus went out of his way to interact with the lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes and social misfits of his day. These outcasts were his people and he loved them, in spite of their current conditions. This was very counter-cultural in his time. There was a long-standing attitude among the social elite and learned men and women of the time that these people were cursed and were to be shunned. Jesus knew differently.
One of the most difficult consequences of divorce is the feeling of being an outsider. Society is constantly bombarding us with images, and unrealistic representations, of the perfect family. We’re made to feel like we used to be part of the mainstream, and now we’re somehow flawed by the nature of our divorce. We often think we don’t have a place to fit in, especially in our parish. This is when we need to remember that Jesus is seeking us. The gospels are full of stories about Jesus pursuing people just like us. We are his people and we are very important to him. He loves us, not in spite of our current condition, but because of it! He is full of compassion and mercy for us and for our families. He has a remarkable plan for us and he desires to reveal it to us and to heal us along the way. The next time you feel as though you no longer fit in, remember the beloved outcasts of Jesus’ day who became the heart and soul of his church!
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 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: 16-17