"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do." Lk 5:31
When the leaders of the Jewish community challenged Jesus about eating with tax collectors, his answer was clear and straightforward. While acknowledging that tax collectors were sick, he reminded his listeners that sick people need help. Implied, of course, is that if we deny our own sinfulness we are like the fellow who sees the splinter in everyone else's eye but ignores the beam in his own. If the Pharisees did not want to admit their own faults, they would have no need of God's help. Our first spiritual task is always to acknowledge our own faults, ask for God's mercy and accept it with joy when it comes.
In biblical times, tax collectors were hated. Not only were most of them Jews who worked for the Roman occupiers, they often charged more than necessary if they thought they could get away with it. More often than not, therefore, they would prey on the poor and the illiterate who were unable to calculate their own taxes. Men who took advantage of the poor were despised by Jesus, but if they showed a willingness to let go of their evil ways, Jesus, the merciful physician, would heal them.
Today, imagine yourself sitting quietly at your own "tax collectors table," and ask for help.
When are you most likely to judge others?