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Healing is hard if we don’t accept we’re sick



Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 01/14/23

‘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.’
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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Jesus celebrates Levi’s calling with a lunch shared with disreputable people:

“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?’”

In common parlance, we say that “birds of a feather flock together.” However, Jesus deliberately ignores this and acts differently. He is not endorsing their sinful life, but reaching out to them in order to bring them back to the surface:

“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.’”

The real problem is when we think that we are not sinners – they are. Jesus came for everyone because, deep down, we are all in need of forgiveness. There are those who sin clearly and glaringly, while there are those who sin in the secret of their hearts. Thinking we are better than others, for example, makes us guilty of pride. And pride is the root upon which evil builds castles. 

Jesus’ words imply that healing is difficult if we do not accept that we are sick. Those who accept their illness are already on the road to recovery. In the end, “only the sick are cured.”


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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