Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:36-50
Optional Memorial of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Today is the feast of St. Robert Bellarmine. Even though he was a great intellectual, he saw to the foundation of Christianity saying, “The school of Christ is the school of charity. On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.” This is the very lesson taught in today’s gospel. Even though the woman in the reading was considered a “sinful woman,” Christ showed her compassion and forgiveness, the very things she needed. Yes, of course He knew her sinfulness, and in that, He knew she needed forgiveness. It is because He gave her that forgiveness that she received the grace to show her love for Him. As our model of love, Christ asks us to show compassion and forgiveness to others, rather than a condemning attitude as though we, ourselves, aren’t in need of forgiveness. There is no sin too great that cannot be forgiven. Christ even tells us that those whose sins are many and receive forgiveness are then given the grace to love greatly. He tells us they will love even more than those whose sins were smaller. Here is a way to look at it. If our sins take up a large amount of our hearts with anger, or bitterness, or jealousy, or pride, etc., and we give up those sins in the Sacrament of Confession, it leaves an equal amount of space for God to then fill with His love, giving us a greater ability to give love. We can’t give what we don’t have.
Am I holding onto sins that are taking up room in my heart that could be filled with God’s love and, therefore, limiting the amount of love I have to give to others?
Lord, please help me, like the woman at the feet of Jesus, to come to you for the healing of my sinfulness. Help me to make more space in my heart for your love so that I may love better those you have placed in my life. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Diane Schwind