113 Poetry

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This page forms part of the resources for 113 Eating with Sinners in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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Poetry

Reflection

This poem originated as a contribution to the HODOS online community by Gene Stecher. It is published with Gene's consent but he explicitly retains full rights as the creative author. You welcome to use it for personal study and worship, but it should not be published in any other form without the author's prior consent. Index to Gene Stecher's poems


Ah yes, the unclean professions:

local cheaters, traitors,

betrayers and tax collaborators

with Caesar himself.

Thank Jeremias for compiling additional stigmas

upon shepherds, dung collectors,

tanners, peddlers, bath attendants,

weavers, gamblers with dice, bandits.

Ah yes, an endless list of sinfully impure:

The mentally tortured,

unclean demons

dwelling in unclean graveyards (Mk 5:1-20)

The physically impaired

with piled on burdens,

have to figure out who sinned. (Jn 9:1-34)

Beggars rummaging about,

expecting no refusal.

Give to whoever asks. (Mt 5:42)

An abundance of prostitutes,

'annointing' feet with tears and kisses

and drying feet with hair. (Lk 7:44-45)

Not an acceptable clientele, me thinks,

if "teachers" seek the respect

of those who 'know' about such things!

"Ah yes, 'ranking priests and elders,'

[Any spokesperson for the Church,

I dare say]

The toll collectors and prostitutes

will get into God's domain,

and you will not (Gray)....

John came to you

advocating JUSTICE,

But you didn't believe him;

Yet the toll collectors

and prostitutes believed him." (Black)

Mt. 21: 31-32 (SV)

Ah yes, that uncomfortable

connection of justice

with the whole matter.

What shall we do! Answer the call?


The profile by Stephen J. Patterson (2002). "Dirt, Shame, and Sin in the Expendable Company of Jesus, " Hoover, R., Ed. Profiles of Jesus, Polebridge Press, was useful in putting this poem together.

I did not reference, "Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick," (Pink) because I take the medical terminology to be a poor fit for the "unclean" context, suggesting that the saying was a floater and imported from a now lost context. Also, the form and content have a popular proverb character.