Reflection on Scripture Eleventh Sunday Gospel C Mercy and love

By 10:10 AM

 Eleventh Sunday  Gospel C

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.  Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. 

· We are not given any indication of what had happened to the woman before this for her to do such an unusual deed. Had Jesus already encountered her with a message of forgiveness and now she was showing her gratitude? We don’t know.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 

· Do we too judge people from their past or from their outside appearances?

Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”

· Jesus teaches through the use of parables.

He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment.

· It was the normal oriental customs for the host to greet his guest with a kiss, to have the servants wash his feet before reclining on the couches, and to anoint the head with oil as a sign of respect. If the Pharisee really saw Jesus as a prophet, he would have done these deeds.

· But the woman acknowledges both who Jesus is and her debt to him for his merciful forgiveness.

· How has Jesus shown his love for us and how have we responded to his love?

 So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 

· Jesus confirms again to her that her sins have been forgiven out of love and that her love response is received by Jesus as a sign of her gratitude.

The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 

· Jesus doesn’t justify his statement. He doesn’t focus on those who do not believe but only on the one who sincerely believes in him.

· The faith of the woman who believed she was forgiven was evidenced by her gift of love shown to Jesus.

· Is our faith so evidenced by our love of Jesus?

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

· Some traditions identify Mary, called Magdalene, with the woman in the Gospel narrative above.

· What is God saying to you through this event in the Gospel? What response is he looking for from you?

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