ONE DAY JESUS WAS INVITED TO DINE in the house of Simon, a Pharisee. A woman of ill-repute in the town learned that Jesus was there, and bringing an expensive jar of ointment, she entered the house and knelt weeping at His feet while He reclined at table. She bathed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Then she kissed them and anointed them with the ointment she had brought. Meanwhile, the Pharisee was muttering to himself that if Jesus were indeed a prophet, He would know that such a woman was not worthy to approach Him. But Jesus answered the unspoken rebuke :
“Simon, I have something to say to thee.”
“Master, speak,” replied the Pharisee. And Jesus said:
“A certain money-lender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred denarii, the other fifty. As they had no means of paying, he forgave them both . Which of them, therefore, will love him more?”
“He, I suppose, to whom he forgave more,” said Simon.
And Jesus approved his answer, saying: “Thou hast judged rightly.”
Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon:
“Dost thou see this woman? I came into thy house: thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she has bathed My feet with tears, and has wiped them with her hair. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but she, from the moment she entered, has not ceased to kiss My feet. Thou didst not anoint My head with oil; but she has anointed My feet with ointment. Wherefore I say to thee, her sins, many as they are, shall be forgiven her, because she has loved much. But he to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Addressing the woman, who remained weeping penitently at His feet, He said:
“Thy sins are forgiven.”
The others at the table were offended at this and began whispering their grievances to each other. “Who is this man,” they said, “who even forgives sins?”
But Jesus said to the woman:
“Thy faith has saved thee; go in peace.”
Meditation: The soul of this woman, once steeped in sin, is the object of Christ’s love. From His words it seems that her soul is very dear to Him; He takes her side against the unspoken accusations of the Pharisee; as though she were His own property, He becomes her protector. While sin is hateful to Our Lord, the sinner is the object of His love. How do I regard those who offend me? Do I love them as Christ loved this sinner?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 69-70. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.