A Grateful, Forgiven Soul

Luke 7: 36-50
1 Cor 15: 1-11 / Ps 118

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
(Luke 7:50)

Our sins are debts we cannot pay,
But must pay forward and forgive;
His Word today shows us the way..
As we’ve received, so we must give.

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so He went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus said. Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

Reflection

I cannot help but reflect on the similarities and differences of today’s Gospel account of Luke with yesterday’s Gospel account of John (19:25-27). Both accounts happened at the feet of our Lord Jesus, and both concerned women who came to Him not to ask for anything, but to show Him their great love. They also came to be with Him without fear or shame to give Him company. But there the similarities end.

In yesterday’s Gospel account of John, the woman who came to Jesus was sinless, His own mother, and the setting was a sorrowful one, in Calvary. In today’s Gospel however, the woman who came to Jesus was a sinner, who was unknown to Him, and the setting was a joyful one, a dinner party in the house of a prominent Pharisee.
While the Blessed Mother wept in sorrow for her dying Son, the uninvited guest who came to Jesus shed tears of gratitude and love, because she believed that Jesus had already forgiven her sins. She also went home rejoicing, in contrast to Mary’s grief.

There are glaring contrasts too between the two main characters in today’s Gospel: Simon, the Pharisee, and the unknown sinful woman. Jesus cited three instances to show how much the “gatecrasher” had shown her great love for Jesus in contrast to His host, who failed to give the customary honors to his invited guest. The common practice at the time was to provide a basin of water for the guest to wash his dusty feet, be greeted with a kiss, and oil poured on his head. All these Simon failed to give, showing his lack of respect and love for his honored guest. Both characters also showed great disparity in the way they judged the person of our Lord. Simon doubted the wisdom of Jesus towards the sinful woman, but she never doubted that the Lord would welcome her humble service and repentance. The Pharisees would never be caught consorting with sinners, much less being touched by them. They were “set apart” by their faithful adherence to all the laws of the Torah. But the “shameless” sinful woman did not care about their laws. All her actions, her tears, her kisses, her hair and expensive perfume that she lavished on the Lord were meant to show her great love for the Savior of her life and soul.

As we go to Jesus our Lord in worship, let our songs and prayers be of praise and thanksgiving, for His grace of salvation is priceless, and we can never be worthy of it.

Lord God, may we show our gratitude everyday for Your grace of salvation by being kind and forgiving to others, showing kindness, like Jesus even to known sinners. Lord Jesus, as You have shown us the way, so we must forgive. Amen.

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