One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

September 17, 2009

For Thursday of the Twenty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 7:36-50

The Gospel does not tell us the name of the weeping woman who lavished messianic honor on the feet of Jesus.
However, the Gospel gives us the name of Simon the Pharisee.
Clearly the Apostolic Church, in writing the Gospel, remembered who Simon was.
Perhaps Simon the Pharisee became a member of the Church.
Perhaps he himself provided the wealth of details that the Gospel holds today, even telling what Simon was saying just to himself.
Perhaps out of tender respect for this poor woman whose sin is well-known in the city, the Gospel, perhaps Simon himself, leaves out the woman’s name from the telling.
However, the Gospel bothers to tell us that her ointment flask was made out of alabaster, a costly vessel itself.
The knowledge that it was alabaster is one more sign of a living memory in the Gospel.
However, the Gospel today is not just a living memory.
It is also a LIFE-GIVING memory.
The Lord tells Simon a little story in which he upholds that one who has greater love is one who knows he has received forgiveness for a greater debt.
Then Jesus says of the woman that “her many sins have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.”
She “has shown great love” by weeping for her sins at the feet of Jesus, kissing his feet, and anointing them with precious oil.
Out of great love— and with saving faith— she humbly gave him a “messianic anointing.”
Great love, but also humility— she lowered herself to anoint his feet, rather than stand over him to anoint his head.
These details of Gospel memory are life-giving, because of who Jesus is, what he says, and what he does.
He said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
He is the One who recognizes great love, recognizes faith, saves, and gives peace.
He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Messianic-Anointed One, comes this day to dine with us in his Body and Blood.
If we come with sorrow for our sins, with ready willingness to abandon our earthly treasures at his feet, with humility, with reverence, with great love, and with faith, Jesus will know it and answer.
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

That God Be Glorified in All


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