Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gospel Text for Sunday, June 13th

Luke 7.36-48
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him-- that she is a sinner." Jesus spoke up and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Teacher," he replied, "Speak." "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt." And Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then turning toward the woman, he 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 were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
Questions for engaging the text:
- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world
I really want to hear from you. Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses.
Grace and Peace, Debra
*** 1st three questions taken from The Art of Engaging Holy Scripture curriculum (see resources)

1 comment:

  1. I observe that on the surface it appears that Jesus is interacting with two diametrically opposed types of characters: Simon, the religious official, a Pharisee who was seemingly a righteous man, “who asked Jesus to eat with him,” and the woman “who was a sinner.” Apparently Simon felt justified in judging the woman a sinner and rebuking Jesus for allowing the unclean woman to touch him. I think it is safe to speculate that Simon judged him self to be neither a sinner like the woman nor a violator of social convention like Jesus. It turns out, that’s not the way Jesus saw things.

    The woman, the sinner, went out of her way to lavish her affection on Jesus, violating all manner of social convention in the process. Still Jesus perceived the woman’s behavior as her loving response to having been forgiven her sins at some previous time. As Jesus said, “Her sins which were many have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.” In other words, the capacity to love extravagantly is a consequence of being forgiven; the woman in the story is no longer a sinner, she is forgiven. In contrast, we meet Simon whom Jesus chastised for failing to offer even the common rituals of hospitality when Jesus arrived at his house. Whereas the woman recognized Jesus as deserving her greatest honor and affection; Simon, who invited Jesus to his home, perhaps because he had heard that Jesus was “a great prophet,” did nothing to show his respect for Jesus. The woman humbled her self before Jesus and received his forgiveness unlike Simon, who was presumably of the same mind as those “who were at table with him,” and challenged Jesus saying, “Who is this who even forgives sins.”

    I am attracted to the reversal – the woman who appeared to be a sinner is forgiven and capable of extravagant love, Simon who appeared to be righteous is actually a sinner and is incapable of even simple social graces. I have to ask my self, in what ways have I been a hypocrite? When and how have I put my faith in social conventions rather than in Jesus Christ? What things have I done, but perhaps more important, what things have I left undone that keep me from loving God and my neighbor? What prevents me from loving lavishly?

    Until I recognize and admit my own sinfulness, rather than judge some one else, or in Jesus’ words “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41), I cannot be forgiven, and until I am forgiven I cannot express gratitude and extravagant love.

    Abba, Father, forgive me the things I have done and the things I have left undone. Set me free to go into the world to love You and my neighbor. Amen.

    Now please let me hear your responses. Thank you. Debra