September 17, 2020
Thursday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
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. Luke 7:36-38
In part, this Gospel is about the Pharisee. If we read on in this passage we see the Pharisee becoming quite judgmental and condemning of this woman and Jesus. Jesus rebuked Him just as He has done so many times before with the Pharisees. But this passage is much more than a rebuke of the Pharisees. At its heart, it’s a story of love.
The love is that love in the heart of this sinful woman. It’s a love manifested in sorrow for sin and deep humility. Her sin was great and, as a result, so was her humility and love. Let’s look at that humility first. It is seen in her actions as she came to Jesus.
First, “she stood behind Him…”
Second, she fell down “at His feet…”
Third, she was “weeping…”
Fourth, she washed His feet “with her tears…”
Fifth, she dried His feet “with her hair…”
Sixth, she “kissed” His feet.
Seventh, she “anointed” His feet with her costly perfume.
Stop for a moment and try to imagine this scene. Try to see this sinful woman humbling herself in love before Jesus. If this full action is not an act of deep sorrow, repentance and humility then it’s hard to know what else it is. It’s an action that is not planned out, not calculated, not manipulative. Rather, it’s deeply humble, sincere and total. In this act, she cries out for mercy and compassion from Jesus and she doesn’t even have to say a word.
Reflect, today, upon your own sin. Unless you know your sin, you cannot manifest this type of humble sorrow. Do you know your sin? From there, consider getting down on the ground, on your knees, bowing your head to the ground before Jesus and sincerely begging for His compassion and mercy. Try literally doing that. Make it real and total. The result is that Jesus will treat you in the same merciful way He did this sinful woman.
Lord, I beg for Your mercy. I am a sinner and I deserve damnation. I acknowledge my sin. I beg, in Your mercy, to forgive my sin and pour forth Your infinite compassion upon me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor