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 You welcome to use it for personal study and worship, but it should not be published in any other form without the author's prior consent.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,
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
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.