The Gospel presents us with a picture of Jesus enjoying a meal with people who were not known to be religious. It had the town’s upright people being shocked at seeing this young rabbi associating with such common people. They were saying, “Look at him. Why, he even seems to enjoy such company!”
We have the custom of classifying people as being of one sort or another. We see some people as being mad for football. We see others as being consumed with grooming their lawn or working with their power tools.” In the same way we classify some people as being of the religious sort, while others are just not the religious sort. Today’s Gospel tells us how mistaken we are to classify any individual or group as not being religious.
We are all religious in one way or another. I love a story about Venerable Bede. As he was preaching to the people in an English church fifteen hundred years ago a bird flew in from the open window on one side, flying out the open window across the way. He told the people, “Our time on earth is like the quick passage of that bird from this side to that. Our religion has us all wondering where we came from and where we are going to.”
My favorite parable has us mixing with people who are not seen as being religious. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a woman mixing yeast with three measures of wheat to make the whole mass rise.” Rather than closeting ourselves off in prayer, we should be mixing, helping the whole mass to rise.