Reflection: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

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[1st Reading – 2Sam.12:7-10,13; Ps.31; 2nd Reading – Gal.2:16,19-21; Gospel – Lk.7:36-8:3]

The main focus of today’s gospel is the woman ‘who had a bad name in the town’.  We are told about how she went to the house where Jesus was, how she brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment and how she waited behind Jesus, at his feet, wept and how her tears fell on Jesus’ feet and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered Jesus’ feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

While all this was happening, the thoughts going through the mind of Simon the Pharisee who invited Jesus must have been thinking along the lines of: if Jesus was a prophet, he would know who this woman is and what kind of life she led …  But sure enough, Jesus’ mind too was working and thinking but whereas the Pharisee was only looking at what everyone already knew about this woman, Jesus was seeing beyond that and instead he looked into her heart and her disposition to start anew.  To help Simon the Pharisee understand this, Jesus asks him a direct question: who loves his creditor the most, the person who was pardoned a few denarii or the one pardoned a lot more?

Simon the Pharisee’s answer was simple, logical and straightforward … He must have understood what Jesus was saying to him and yet Jesus proceeded to explain why he asked him the question.  Jesus tells Simon the Pharisee that although he is grateful that he invited Jesus to his house, however, Simon lacked a proper welcome into his house.  Simon did not pour any water over Jesus’ feet or wiped his feet as prescribed by the law; he did not give him a proper welcome with a kiss; and he did not anoint Jesus’ head with oil.  As a Pharisee, he should have known better how things should be!  Yet, this woman, who everyone knew she had a bad name in the town, gave Jesus a proper welcome (in her life).  She was not afraid to show her love for Jesus and that she repented …  Therefore, “For this reason … her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her…”

Jesus showed that both the woman with the bad name in the town and the upright Pharisee who invited Jesus for a meal in his house, were both in debt in the eyes of God.  The difference was that the woman was conscious of it, was sorry and was ready to show it through what she was doing to Jesus.  The Pharisee on the other hand was not even aware or perhaps not quite ready to admit that he too was in debit with God…

Is our faith and love for God big enough to merit God’s forgiveness, salvation and peace?

 

“Lord, you were not afraid to let this woman show her love for you and show her repentance for her sins.  Help us to recognise our own misery and your infinite love for us through which you are always ready to receive us back whenever we show signs of repentance to return back to you.   Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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