by: Br. Ian Granada [cjm]
This Sunday’s gospel is one of the many instances Jesus showed His mercy and compassion especially to repentant sinners. Let us see the repentant woman showed how her Faith in God in Jesus changed her life and made her capable of doing extraordinary acts of love and devotion to the Son of God.
This particular text can be found in all four gospels. However, in the gospel of Luke, the emphasis will be on the sinful woman. The other gospels do not report the most provocative of the woman's behavior; kissing, and the anointing of Jesus' feet. Forgiveness of sins, which is the crux of the matter is a particular theme that runs in the Gospel of Luke. The chapter where this text is found is devoted in portraying Jesus as one greater than a prophet.
"Your Faith has saved you, go in peace!" This was Jesus ending remarks to the repentant woman. According to scripture scholars, this particular event might not be the first meeting between the woman and Jesus. It might be a unintentional second meeting where the woman recognized the man who forgave and even healed her. The faith which the woman showed in the first meeting with Jesus became a moment of change in heart and mind (metanoia). This conversion ir repentance brought about salvation and redemption to the woman. However, our society is not ready for such an overnight change. For them, the identity of the woman as a sinner (prostitute) became her life and name despite God's intervention and forgiveness. This was the sin of Simon the Pharisee whom Jesus asked, "Do you see this woman?" Due to the Pharisee's spiritual pride due to his fanatical adherence to external holiness, he failed to see the woman as a person, capable of change and new life.
Even in today's world, we see instant judgements here and there, proclaiming people as "sinners", "bad", "living in sin", and even "evil people". Where is the charity of our humanity? Pope Francis in different occasions have condemned such nametagging and labelling to people. We are called in the same vocation to holiness, though different in levels and stages, we are in the same highway to our heavenly home. As such, we should always be mindful of the struggles of our brothers and sisters in their spiritual journey and in their lives. Instead of judging people by mere appearance or first meeting, we should try to discover their journey, their backgrounds, and struggles to live a holy life as they carry their own unique crosses. It might be, that in the end, we may discover that this person is even holier than us and may call us even to greater repentance and conversion!
In another hinge, I pray that the repentant woman may inspire from the journey of Faith to the joy of the encounter of Jesus! From the initial encounter of Jesus and the faith that God infused in her to believe in the Son of God, to the openness of heart that she showed in embracing the message of Jesus as a call to new start in life, we are now ready to embrace our redemption; freedom from the slavery of sin. Thus, we can now fully love God and our neighbor with no boundaries or limitations. For me, that is the Joy of the Gospel, the meaning of our encounter with Jesus in the Scriptures, our Tradition, Sacraments, and in our daily life.
O God, strength of those who hope in you,
graciously hear our pleas,
and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing,
grant us always the help of your grace,
that in following your commands
we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.