A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 7:36-50
A certain 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; hence, 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."
REFLECTION: "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Simon, the Pharisee, first invited Jesus. Then the woman of the city knew where Jesus was and went to the home of the Pharisee. Then Simon, the Pharisee, was fuming with anger because this dinner guest of his is allowing a sinful woman to bathe his feet with her tears and use the ointment she carried in the jar. All this during his dinner. Why did the Pharisee invite Jesus to dinner in the first place?
Everyone seems to know she is a sinful woman and they question the authenticity of this Jesus who does not act as if he knows this. But this anonymous woman seems to know Jesus, either from before or is so remorseful now that she comes face to face with Him for the first time. She offered her tears, her ointment and the embarrassment of the moment. People were most likely judging her, yet she bore witness to Jesus' profound mercy. She bathes, kisses and anoints the body of Christ.
She was the prodigal daughter ~ Jesus knew who she was and the sins that caused her such great distress. His tender love for her can be felt in the room as Jesus protects her from the protestations of the host and also defends her actions. And with His love her sins are forgiven. "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Can our faith carry us that far? Can we find peace because of our faith? We certainly can be as remorseful as she about our sins and we can certainly depend on God's love for us to be saved.