"Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.”
The older we get, the more often we find ourselves visiting the doctor. And the older we grow, the more types of doctors we visit, for ailments of different parts of our bodies. But the average Joe, when he begins to sense a serious sickness, weighs in his mind two counter-balancing dislikes. He weighs the potential for the sickness becoming worse against the hassle of scheduling a trip to the doctor’s office, with all that entails both beforehand and afterwards.
Consider all that as an analogy to sin. In today’s Gospel Jesus says that “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.” In the three years of Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus often condemns the self-righteous, who don’t believe they need a doctor: these are they who say regarding their spiritual lives, “I’m just fine!”
Jesus also shows, in His words and deeds, the need for a good shepherd to reach out to the lamb who is lame, lost or sick. Maybe the lamb even avoids the shepherd and pulls away when it sees the shepherd coming towards him: these are they who say, “Please don’t bother about little old me!”
The irony of today’s Gospel is that the self-righteous likely need Jesus more than those they accuse of sinfulness. We are all of us—sinful men, women and children—in need of a Savior.