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Homily (Reflection) for the Eleventh Sunday of the Year, (C) (12th June, 2016) on the Gospel

2Sam 12:7-10.13;
Ps 31:1-2.5.7.11. (R. cf. v. 5);
Gal 2:16.19-21;
Lk 7:36–8:3 or Lk 7:36-50.

An old man saw a scorpion that had become tangled in the roots of an old tree in a swamp. The old man crawled out on the tree’s gnarled roots and tried to help the scorpion free itself. But each time he did, the scorpion bit him. On shore a smart-alecky kid laughed at the old man. “Hey, old man, all you’re getting out of trying to help the scorpion is a swollen hand. What a fool you are.”

The old man replied. “Just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, should I change mine, which is to save?”[1]

Topic: Hidden under many sins.

Jesus was a guest in the house of a Pharisee named Simon when a known sinner in the city came with an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood at Jesus’ feet and bathed them with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed and anointed them with the ointment. The Pharisee was uncomfortable knowing too well the kind of person the woman was. Jesus told him a story of a creditor who had two debtors. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. The creditor cancelled their debts when they could not pay. Jesus then asked him who among the two would love the creditor more. Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’

Turning to the woman Jesus 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. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.

The Pharisee before himself and his likes stood for a good example of a righteous person. He invited Jesus to his house but could offer Him neither water for His feet, a kiss of welcome, nor oil for His head.

On the other hand, the sinful woman was before Jesus’ host and indeed the people of the city a total write-off, cf. Lk 18:11. Hence, the Pharisee doubted Jesus’ authenticity just because He allowed the woman to touch His feet.

Beyond how others saw the sinful woman, she willingly supplied those things the Pharisee would have done as a host in extraordinary way. Physically, she came with only an alabaster jar of ointment yet she was able to produce enough tears out of sorrow for her sins to bathe Jesus feet. And without a towel, she wiped them with her pride as a sign of her humility, cf. 1Cor 11:15. She did not measure less in love because she kept kissing those feet passionately because they are better than those that bring good news, cf. Rom 10:15. And selflessly she profusely poured ointment on those feet.

All these that were ‘hidden under many sins’ earned her the words she needed most: “Your sins are forgiven.” And, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” Her love covered all her offenses, cf. Prov 10:12; 1Pt 4:8. In line with these, the Second Chronicles reads, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2Chr 7:14).

It is not in the nature of God to reject any who turns to Him for forgiveness, cf. Ps 51:17; Is 66:2. Whoever approaches Him with a sincere heart like this sinful woman will become a new creature, cf. 2Cor 5:17. Nobody is a total write-off before God. But let us not imitate the scorpion and keep biting God as He helps us.

Bible Reading: Is 1:2-20; Lk 18:9-14; Heb 8:1-13.

Thought for today: God still loves you.

Let us pray: May the God of compassion forgive us all our sins – Amen.

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[1] Fuller, G. (2010). Stories for all seasons. Mumbai: ST PAULS, p. 129.

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