June 23

 Reflection

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.
Luke 7:36-50

In this gospel story we see two religious leaders in the presence of a woman who was considered a sinner. Their reactions to her clearly show alternative world views. Jesus sees hope in a broken world, humanity in a broken person. His reaction is to move toward her with compassion and forgiveness. The Pharisee sees a rigid world where there are clear definitions of what is acceptable and correct and his self-righteousness prevents him from seeing the person. He can only judge the woman as a sinner and reject Jesus for failing to see her for what she is. He distances himself from her and admonishes him.

Jesus reveals to her a God who is forgiving and generous and she responds with heart-broken honesty to this loving embrace. “Many sins are forgiven her because she has shown great love.” Her humiliation and her tears fade into the warmth of new life.

Prayer

Forgive us as we forgive one another.

Action

Consider which of these alternative ways you choose to live? Are there rigid standards that keep you from compassion and understanding for others? Do you tend to be judgmental and self-righteous? Does your response to others encourage them to live fuller lives?

Suggested Reading

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 because she has shown great love.
Luke 7:36-50

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 6:14

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Who am I to judge?
Pope Francis

Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.
George Macdonald

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
Martin Luther King, Jr

Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.
Phillips Brooks

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.
Dalai Lama

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
Abraham Lincoln

Perhaps we should worry less about judging people for being Mormon or Baptist or Muslim or gay or straight or black or white or Latino or by their religious or political brands and worry more about electing thoughtful, serious and ethical politicians on both sides of the political isle who are willing to work together for progress.
Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick

To love a man enough to help him, you have to forfeit the warm, self-righteous glow that comes from judging.
Ron Hall

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