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Based on the Gospel of Luke 7:36–8:3
Jesus looked at the woman with great love. “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Simon, the Pharisee, invites Jesus to dinner. To the guests’ surprise, a woman, known to have done many bad things, comes into the room and kneels weeping before Jesus. She bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, kisses them and anoints them with perfumed ointment.
Simon, a religious Pharisee who took pride in obeying the laws, is annoyed and embarrassed that Jesus would allow such a sinful person to touch him. Jesus gently rebukes and teaches Simon by asking a question, “If one person owed a moneylender 500 days’ wages, and the other owed 50, which one would love the lender more if the debts were cancelled?” “The one who owed more would feel the most love and gratitude,” Simon answered.
Jesus said, “You have judged rightly.” But then Jesus makes a comparison of gratitudes: “Simon, you did not offer me a formal greeting kiss, she kissed my feet; you provided no water to rinse the dust from my feet, she washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair; you did not anoint my head with oil, she anointed my feet. Surely everything she has done wrong has been forgiven for her to show such great love.”
Simon and the invited guests saw the woman as a socially unacceptable person who acted in an improper way. Jesus saw the woman as a person with faith and love and potential for spiritual conversion.
This Gospel story tells how loving and forgiving Jesus is. Jesus gives us a chance to experience his love and forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. His words, “Your sins are forgiven…. Your faith has saved you, go in peace” are quoted almost verbatim by the priest when we go to confession. Jesus is pleased as he generously showers us with his merciful and healing love. Regular and frequent confession is one of the surest ways we can grow spiritually.
Love and forgiveness always go together.