"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" And who is the sinner, except the one who denies that he is a sinner? In fact he himself is the greater sinner and, to put it more accurately, he himself is even sin, who does not even understand that he is a sinner. And who is unrighteous except the one who judges himself righteous? You have read, Pharisee: "that not any living person will be righteous in your sight." As long as we are in a mortal body, and frailty dominates us, even if we overcome sinful actions, we are unable to overcome and escape thoughts that are sinful and unrighteous. Even if we are able to avoid bodily evil, and if we can conquer any evil deliberations, how can we abolish faults of negligence and sins of ignorance?
Pharisee, admit your sin, so that you might be able to come to the table of Christ; so that you might have Christ as your Bread, and he the Bread might be broken in forgiveness for your sin; so that Christ might become your Cup to be poured out in remission of your offenses. Pharisee, eat with sinners so that you can eat with Christ. Acknowledge that you are a sinner, so that Christ might eat with you. Enter with sinners into the feast of your Lord, so that you can be a sinner no more. Enter the house of mercy with the forgiveness of Christ, so that with your kind of righteousness, you may not be shut out in punishment from the house of mercy. Acknowledge Christ, listen to Christ, listen to your Lord, listen to the heavenly Physician silencing your slander once and for all: "The healthy do not need a doctor, but the ill do." If you want a cure, acknowledge your illness. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." If you desire mercy, admit your sin.
"Go," he says, "and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice." Christ desires mercy and not sacrifice. For what sacrifice will he seek who, in order to seek you out, became a sacrifice himself? "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." It is not that he has rejected the righteous, but rather that no one on earth is considered innocent without Christ.
"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." By saying this, Christ has not rejected the righteous, but rather he has revealed that all are sinners. Listen to the Psalmist: "The Lord has looked down from heaven to earth upon the sons of human beings, in order to see if there is anyone intelligent or seeking God. All have turned away, all together have become good for nothing; there is no one who does good, not even one." Brothers, let us be sinners by our own admission, so that with Christ's forgiveness we may be sinners no more.