Thursday, September 17, 2015

"The joy of God is the joy of forgiveness"

“Today I would also like to suggest a medicine to you. But someone might think: 'The Pope is a pharmacist now?' It is a special medicine that will make the fruits of the Year of Faith concrete. This year is drawing to its close. It is a medicine of 59 pills for the heart. It is a 'spiritual medicine' called ‘Misericordina.’ A little box with 59 pills for the heart. The medicine is in this little box and some volunteers will hand it out to you as you are leaving the piazza. Take it! It is a rosary with which you can also pray the 'Mercy chaplet,' a spiritual help for our soul and to spread love, forgiveness and fraternity everywhere. Do not forget to take it because it is good for you, okay? It is good for your heart, you soul and your whole life!” – Pope Francis speaking in Rome November 18, 2013

Gospel Text:  (Lk 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.”

If you look deep into this story Jesus tells today at Mass, there are “two people” involved here, God and each of us.  Now God does not measure out His love for us; He does not love us because..., or when..., or if..., He just simply loves us at least as steadily and strongly as the sun shines.  It is us, the other people involved, who limit how much of His love we allow to enter our lives and change us.

God's forgiveness is always there, ready for us to take as much of as we want to or can.  We should not be waiting for God to forgive us, so I think we must be waiting to have the courage to love and accept love as much as this woman does today in the gospel.

Where are we in our relationships with God?  Are we waiting for some revelation, some amazing event, or anything else of that sort before we can (or will try to) actually believe in God's affection and concern for us?  Are we actually waiting for some proof of God's forgiveness, even after Christ's bloody death, before we let God's love change us?

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