The Gospel of the Mass1 narrates the vocation of Matthew: his call by the Lord and the prompt response of the tax collector. Leaving everything, he rose up and followed him.
The new apostle wanted to show his gratitude to Jesus with a feast that St. Luke describes as great. A large number of tax collectors and others were seated at the table. All his friends were there.
The Pharisees were scandalized. They asked the disciples, "How is it that you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? The tax collectors were regarded as sinners, because of the exorbitant profits they were able to make in their profession and because of the relations they maintained with the Gentiles.
Jesus replied to the Pharisees with these consoling words: "It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance2.
Jesus comes to offer his kingdom to all men, his mission is universal. "The dialogue of salvation was not conditioned by the merits of those to whom it was directed, it was opened to all men without any discrimination...".
Jesus comes for all, because we are all sick and sinners, no one is good but one, God. We must all turn to God's mercy and forgiveness in order to have life and reach salvation. Humanity is not divided into two blocks: those who are already justified by their own strength, and sinners. We all need the Lord every day. Those who think they have no need of God do not attain health, they remain in their death or in their sickness.
The words of the Lord who presents himself to us as the Physician move us to ask forgiveness with humility and trust for our sins and also for those of people who seem to want to continue to live far from God. We say to him today, with St. Teresa: "O my true God, what a hard thing I ask of you: that you love those who do not love you, that you open to those who do not call you, that you give health to those who like to be sick and go about seeking sickness! You say, my Lord, that you come to seek sinners. These, Lord, are the true sinners. Look not on our blindness, my God, but on the much blood that your Son shed for us; let your mercy shine on so much wickedness; see, Lord, that we are your workmanship". If we go to Jesus in this way, with humility, he will always have mercy on us and on those whom we try to bring close to him.