June 16, 2013: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.” (Luke 7:36-8:3)
A particularly wise person once stated that “Only love changes [people and situations].” In today’s Good News, Jesus’ relationship with the penitent woman and those women who cared for Jesus out of their own resources shows that they knew themselves to be loved by him. Only when we are certain of God’s love and the complete acceptance of at least one other person are we able to open ourselves to the changes we know we need to make in our lives. How can we or I be the person who provides unconditional love for someone in need of this experience?