Reflection: Making friends
Jesus’ strategy for impacting on others was fairly simple: he made friends. And the way he went about this was also simple: he asked them to join him, listening to what he had to say, and sharing life together. He also took up their invitations to dinner.
On this occasion he is hanging out with Levi, a tax collector. Tax collectors were hated by their fellow Jews, because they seemed to be cooperating and benefitting from the invading power.
At the banquet there are many undesirables present: ‘sinners’ as they are described. Not people who hide respectable sins like pride or greed; but prostitutes and tax collectors and others, whose sin is externally visible.
The religious establishment is appalled. Jesus claims to be on a mission from God, indeed hints that he is the longed-for Messiah (Luke 4:17–21) – yet hangs out with the wrong sort of people.
Instead of being friends with ‘good’ people as was recommended in Jewish and Greco-Roman society, Jesus chooses sinners, those who listen, know and respond.
Question: How do you choose your friends? How are you challenged by Jesus’ example?
Prayer: Oh Lord, Forgive us when ignore or avoid those you particularly reached out to and befriended. Help us to be more open to those you bring us across our path. Amen.