June 13th, 2010

Gospel Luke 7:36—8:3
Chapter 7

36One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him — that she is a sinner.” 40Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Chapter 8

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

Forgiveness.  It sounds so easy.  We all want it.  Simple isn’t it.  Let’s just be honest and admit we messed up, or as my toddler says we “were naughty”.  At first reading this story in the gospel we can just lift up the woman as she turns from her sinful life.  I imagine we can come up with a list of the sins she has committed.  These are the obvious sins.  But there’s more.

I came across this poem and thought I’d share it:

when i weep
for my circumstances,
i think that i am mourning the difficulty,
the struggle,
the hardship.
i think that i, above all,
should be most pitied.

yet, my spirit testifies:

when i weep,
i mourn not the difficulty,
the struggle,
the hardship;
i mourn the death of self,
the crucifixion of the flesh,
the burial with Christ.

though i think that i, above all,
should be most pitied;
i, above all, should be most envied.

every tear that falls
brings me closer to the supreme good
for which God is working all things:

that the image of Christ
be formed in me.

when you see me weep, pity me not.
pray instead,

that God, who is faithful,
will bring his good work to completion
and that I might learn
the secret of Christ’s eternal life:

surrender.

Posted by Emily Hunter McGowin

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