Imagine yourself the invited guest of honor at a special banquet. You are seated at the table with the other guests who look forward to spending time with you when a known drug addict who is homeless and dirty bursts in and plants himself at your feet in a posture of deep gratitude.
How are the other guests reacting? What comments are buzzing around the table? What emotions are running through you? What are your thoughts and concerns?
This is the situation in which Jesus found himself in today’s Gospel. A woman of ill repute used her tears to wash his feet, her hair to dry them, and the perfumed oil she brought to anoint them. All while the Pharisee host and his friends looked on in disbelief and distain! Imagine what she risked by admitting her faults in this public setting! Jesus received her acts of love and what’s more, made clear she had shown him more honor than his host!
Father Dick McGuire often reminded people that our real name is “Beloved.” No matter what we think of ourselves, no matter what names other people call us, no matter where our actions have taken us, we are God’s Beloved. That is precisely why the woman in today’s Gospel was not only able to, but could not stop herself from celebrating the love of God by honoring Jesus. It is because of and within that love that she found forgiveness from God that enabled her to forgive herself and move forward.
Within each of us lives a piece of this woman and the Pharisee. We all experience brokenness in our lives, our families. We can often see the faults in others clearer than we see our own faults. We are all deeply loved by God. That love makes it possible to accept God’s forgiveness and even begin to forgive ourselves and others. It is this unconditional and ever-present love that gives us glimpses of God’s dream for each of us.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC