Readings for Thursday September 16, 2010
Memorial of Saint Cornelius, pope and martyr, and Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118
Gospel: Luke 7:36-50
A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now 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. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner." Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?" Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly." 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; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Lk 7:36-50)
In today's gospel reading, we have one of the most beautiful examples of Christ's loving mercy. We read about the pardon of the sinful woman. The one who bathed Christ's feet with her tears and washed them with her hair. All who saw this "sinful" woman were criticizing and judging Jesus in their mind for allowing her to touch Him. Their judgement of her had completely blocked their ability to show mercy on this woman. But because God is love, Jesus saw her through the eyes of love and showed her great mercy and compassion. He said to her, "your sins are forgiven."
"Your sins are forgiven." How many of us believe this? Sometimes we latch onto to our past mistakes that we do not embrace the mercy of the Lord. Many times we are so ashamed by our past that we do not move forward in our faith journey; but what we must always remember is that Christ's words to the sinful woman are the same ones to us when we come to Him, "your sins are forgiven." Many times we say that we know in our heads that Christ forgives us our sins, but how many of us believe this in our hearts? If we want to move forward with Jesus, we must come to believe that He truly does forgive all of our sins. If we are truly sorry and repent of our sins, we are forgiven. One thing that we as Catholics can take advantage of and tap into God's grace is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By confessing our sins, working through the priest, Christ tells us that our "sins are forgiven." The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most underused and undervalued Sacraments in the Church. When I converted to the Catholic faith, I cannot even begin to describe the joy and peace that I felt after going to reconciliation. Through this Sacrament I was able to let go of previous sins that I had carried with me for so long; and because of this I was able to move forward in my journey with Christ.
Let us all remember that we serve a God of great and abundant mercy. His mercy is for all who embrace Him and who choose to love Him. Let us all remember that Jesus came to save and for forgive each one of us our sins. He is the good physician who comes to heal us and to show us a better way.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord thank you for the gift of our lives, help us to be good stewards of all that you bless us with. Lord, heal us and continue to pour out your love and mercy on us. Help us never to stray from the path you set down before us. Lord, we love you, and pray for all those who do not know you, may they be brought back to your loving arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.