“… She has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair …”
Gospel: Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And 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. 38 She 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. 39 Now 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.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then 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. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, 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.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
There is no doubt that Simon, the Pharisee, prided himself in his religion. He followed the laws and thought himself a very devout person. Therefore, it bothered him that such a sinful woman would join the dinner in his home. It especially annoyed him that his guest, Jesus, allowed her to stay and even treated her with respect. Of course the woman knew rejection at the hands people like Simon who thought they were better than she was, but Jesus forgave her her sins because she was so sincere in her belief. To explain his action, Jesus told Simon a parable about two people who owed large sums of money. One person, however, owed ten times the amount of the other. Jesus asked the Pharisee which debtor would be more grateful for the forgiveness. Naturally he replied that the person with the greater debt would be happiest. Jesus said so it was true for the person with the greatest sin. At that he turned to the woman, forgave her, and told her to go in peace.
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
How did the people in this story view this woman? Simon the Pharisee saw her only as a dirty whore. Jesus however saw beyond her sin, to who she really was – the person God meant her to be.
People often speak about having a ‘change of heart’ when they come back to God. It is as if they suddenly become aware of how much God loves them. This in turn leads them to feel real heartfelt sorrow for the things they have done wrong in their lives. The woman in the story was having this experience. She may have been following Jesus for a while – listening to Him and taking notice of what he was doing. She was on her own spiritual journey. But there would have come a point where she – like all of us today – suddenly felt that she could no longer deny what her feelings were telling her about God. Blessed Pope John Paul II described this feeling akin to ‘falling in love’.
Her heart must have been close to bursting when she realized that Jesus had always loved her – despite the bad things she had done. And all He wanted was for her to come back to Him so she could discover who she really was, in His eyes. In His eyes, she had infinite value and worth. She was worth dying for.
When we realize that this is how Jesus loves us, all we can feel in response is gratitude and love. Our hearts are moved in real, true repentance and we don’t want to sin anymore. We just want God.
- Where am I on my spiritual journey with God?
- Do I realize who I am and how much I am worth in Jesus’ eyes?
- Jesus loves me so much that He died for me.
Help me to see my value and worth through your eyes.
Teach me who I really am.
Thank You, I Love You Jesus, Amen.