Tuesday 8 September 2015

Thursday of 24th Week, uneven numbered year Jeudi de la 24e semaine, année impaire

“Jesus said to the woman ’Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

1.Tm. 4,12-16 Ps. 110 Lk.7, 36-50

Thursday of 24th Week, uneven numbered year

“One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisees’ house and took his place at table, suddenly a woman came in, she had a bad name in the town.She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet and she wiped them away with her hair ; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.”

The attitude and gestures this woman has show her gratitude, for she believes that her sins have been forgiven. Behind these feminine gestures lie an intuition that is altogether feminine : the woman had felt very well that Jesus of Nazareth would quite surely respond to her expectations by letting himself be approached and touched in a practical manner and one that included her affective nature. In this passage we can note the importance of the gaze. Simon looks at things by himself, there is no confrontation in the gaze between them. It is Faith that saves : thanks to our faith, we are saved. Jesus looks at this woman like the Creature who is looking at his work , in all its beauty. He doesn’t allow himself to be impressed by sin, but confronted by her faith he will say ’: Your faith has saved you!’ The faith of this sinful woman is rooted in the gaze Jesus has towards her; Jesus looks at her with faith, with an infinite confidence. He sees in her the child of God who is tenderly cherished by her Heavenly Father. Jesus’ hope for this woman is that he will able to touch her heart and thus she will find once again all her beauty. Her inner brightness cannot be attacked, she is the most precious ’property’ belonging to God. She is like this precious pearl that is stuck in misery. One has to go and encounter Jesus directly so as to find God’s forgiveness.

"When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ’If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is and what sort of person it is who is touching him and what a bad name she has. Then Jesus took him up and said, ’Simon, I have something to say to you.’ He replied, ’Say on, Master.’ There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt ; one owed him five hundred denarii ; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he let them both off? Which of them

will love him more?’ Simon answered, ’The one who was let off more, I suppose.’ Jesus said, ’You are right.’

A particularly significant element of this confrontation is that Jesus proclaims that forgiveness has already been granted, without any other condition than repentance and faith, which is the mediator for this to be given. Jesus goes deliberately against the flow of his people’s culture by the very fact that he lets himself be touched by a woman leading a bad life. The recital insists upon the practical aspect of the relationship between the woman and Jesus by taking the time to describe the gestures where she has taken the initiative. It is already an invitation when her hair fastening was untied! ’Because of your great love, you are saved,’ says Jesus. We are here before the mystery of the recognition of the gift of God.It is the mystery of Jesus’ humanity which Mary bore in her great love and which from now on makes humanity immaculate. We know that the perfume that was spread is the sign of the good odour of Christ that is given in the three theological virtues. It is by acts of faith that we encounter the Saviour of humanity, present today in His Church. Thanks to her faith, this woman receives what she came seek : salvation. God’s salvation comes through Jesus’ humanity.

“Then, turning to the woman, he said to Simon, ’You see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason that I tell you, her sins, as many as they are, have been forgiven her, because she has shown such great love. It is someone who is forgiven little who shows little love.’ Then he said to her, ’Your sins are forgiven’. Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, ’Who is this man, that even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman, ’Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

We can place side by side the deep intuition of the woman who perceived in her the effect of forgiveness, with the prophetic charism of Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth is disposed to welcome her, she who is a public sinner.With her super feminine gestures she expresses herself on a practical level.All that Jesus does is that he interprets her gestures. It is Jesus who makes the decision to introduce the woman’s gesture on the level of words that are exchanged between the guests. Jesus will bring attention to this woman’s gestures, this

woman’s acts, she who is so poor and a sinner. Jesus knows how to see loving gestures. He knows how to read the intentions in her heart. The way Jesus looks at her renews this woman : the perfume fills the house, it is the good odour of Christ. We all need Jesus’ gaze to fall upon us in order to be healed. If the door of our heart opens up, God’s Love will come into it and we shall sing as if it is Easter : ’Alleluia.’

We ask Jesus for the grace to continue to save us ’because of his great Love’