Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:13-22
We are spending a few days with Mark's mother, the last surviving parent between us. She is a brilliant, witty and strong woman in her 91 year. She is also a strict Catholic and has clear opinions on many topics. It is hard to convince her that things should be different. All of us as we age can get stuck in a certain way of living and thinking. Getting out is hard for her, yet getting out, whether by the sea and just to the store, change radically change one's perspective.
Jesus ventured out and gathered disciples, friends and a community. For the religious leaders, his approach seemed like folly. He reached out to those who we hurt, wounded, ill and outcast. He spent a good deal of time by the sea and in market places, among the people. He made room in God's kingdom for the least and rejected among us. God invites us to celebrate the love we have today, not trying to make it a nostalgic affair, but rather a present moment love of our present facilities.
Today I ask God to help me rejoice and love in these moments. as complicated and confusing as they may be. May we all celebrate the good gifts and relationships we have, knowing that God is always in the midst of us.