Pink blossoms framing a stone status in the Cathedral gardens

Matthew 9:10-17

As Jesus sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Most of us would acknowledge that we should at least have a yearly physical.

And many of us over the age of 50 and beyond have come to understand that periodic checkups are a necessity for our physical well-being.  There are times when we are able to tell that something is just not right in our bodies and we make the call to our doctor to rely that sense of dis-ease. But even when we may sense that something isn’t quite right, there are times when we live in a state of denial of our true condition. If this is true about our physical health, how much more difficult is it for us to honestly address our spiritual well-being? While our nature is to hide the truth from ourselves, Lent provides us a time for a spiritual check-up.

In the gospel today, Jesus relayed to the Pharisees, in response to their questions to Jesus’ disciples about the company he kept, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick…For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”   

As we begin the season of Lent, we are invited to take a look in the mirror at the reality of our lives and given the opportunity for a spiritual workup. One of the hardest parts of self-examination is admitting that we are sinners; that we have been guilty of filling God’s space in our hearts and lives with other things that ultimately serve as obstacles to our experience of God.  During this season we are called to a time of confession and honesty; confession of our vulnerability, confession of our own brokenness, confession of our sins, and confession of our need for God. The good news is that Jesus came to offer us steadfast love, mercy, and healing.



Holy God, our lives are laid open before you: rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Ash Wednesday

Common Worship: Times and Seasons