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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus observes that the people of his generation criticize him as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” 

Jesus came as God’s own self into our dysfunctional world. He came to bring the light of God’s presence and love to the far country of sin and death. Accordingly, he went to the poor, the disabled, the marginalized, the forgotten, those crippled by sin.

He came to bring the ordo of God into a disordered world. He came as the keynote to tune up a cacophonous universe. And thus the proponents of disorder and the producers of the cacophony sought to destroy him. 

The Church is the Mystical Body of Jesus, the living organism that makes present Christ’s mind and will in the world. It is his love made flesh throughout the ages, his hands and feet and eyes and heart. We are all, through Baptism, members of that Body. Our purpose is his purpose—to carry the nonviolent and forgiving love of God to a hungry world; to go to the darkest places, to the far country in quest of sinners; to be both judge (sign of contradiction) and bearer of salvation.