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Faith Daily | 15 September 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p581

O God,

without you we are not able to please you:

mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit

may in all things direct and rule our hearts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 7: 36-50


36One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37And 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. 38She 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. 39Now 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.” 40Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.” 41“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44Then 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. 45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore, 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.” 48Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Jane Markotsis


Forgiveness and love. These are the two central themes in today’s Gospel passage which includes the parable of the two debtors. We see immediately, the contrast between the love shown to Jesus by the woman and the lack of love shown to him by Simon the Pharisee, and then at the end, the power of Jesus’ forgiveness to the one who showed him how much she loved him. True forgiveness equals love and, true love equals forgiveness. You can’t have one without the other and if we are stingy with our forgiveness and love for others, it is a direct reflection of our lack of appreciation of the greatness of God’s forgiveness and love for us. This may seem harsh, but I believe it to be true.


Having your dinner interrupted can be annoying. Salespeople knocking at the door and Telemarketers phone calls are an irritation. When we sit down to eat, we want to enjoy our food and our time with family. This is true on a normal evening, and it is especially true when we have invited guests over for dinner. Can you imagine an uninvited guest crashing your dinner party? Jesus went to be the honoured guest at a dinner party hosted by Simon the Pharisee. Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of a divine dinner interruption by a sinner expressing her gratitude for God’s forgiveness.


This could have been a very, very difficult situation for Jesus. In the first place, the woman is a known prostitute. She has shamefully taken down her hair in the view of a Pharisee and then she touches Jesus. Not only does she touch him, but she washes his feet with her hair, and she continues to embrace his feet to hold on to him as if she didn't want to let him go. It sounds awkward enough already, but then she pours perfume on his feet. This could be a very serious breach of propriety. It would be very easy to say, "How in the world does this prostitute feel so familiar with Jesus? Do they know each other? How did he have any relationship with such a shameless woman?" Surely somebody would have made this connection.


Jesus associates with sinners because he knows that God is willing and able to transform them. The Pharisees distance themselves from sinners because they want to avoid contamination. Jesus knows that God responds to repentance and humility with grace and forgiveness. The Pharisees—who were responsible to teach God’s law and love to the people—withheld the experience of God’s grace from the people who needed it. Jesus is condemning hostility towards sinners. It is important to be honest about sin and to address it, but it is also important to be clear about God’s grace and forgiveness for sinners who are honest about their sin and approach God in humility. The proper response to forgiveness is not pride, but humility. The proper response to known sinners is not judgment, but love.


According to Jesus, whoever has been forgiven much, loves much. Love is what God wants most from his people: Love for him and love for others. If we do many great things and have many spiritual gifts, but do not have love, we are nothing. So as God’s children, it is most important for us to grow in love. Let’s ask ourselves, “Am I growing in love?”


FINAL PRAYER


Holy Spirit,

help all of us to forgive people who have hurt us.

Heal our wounded emotions

and teach us how to love unconditionally.

Continue to extend your love and mercy toward us.

Please remind us daily to use your power

living on the inside of us which helps us in all things.

Lord, help us to forget the past

so that we can move forward to the future

as we press toward the mark of our higher calling in Christ Jesus.

Father, please forgive us for not being forgiving.

Forgive us for thinking evil thoughts

and seeking revenge against people who have offended us.

Forgive us for hatred and for not walking in love.

Forgive us for gossiping, lying

and for rehearsing in our minds what was said or done to us.

Lord, remind us of those persons we need to forgive, and help us to forgive. Amen.

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