Reflection on the Daily Readings for 9/17/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 446. I Timothy 4:12-16. Psalm 111: 7-8.9.10. Luke
No wonder Dante favored Luke’s Gospel in his Divine Comedy! It is a Gospel
of mercy, love, and peace. Today’s selection shows this in the way Jesus
approves of the unnamed woman who has shown him hospitality in an official
religious person’s house who neglected this respectful gesture toward Jesus
and who had not offered water for the washing of Jesus’ feet. The woman
however not only washed Jesus’ feet with her tears which were as abundant
as her love, but also wiped his feet with her hair and then anointed them
with precious oil. What hospitality! Love! and Sensitivity! Yet, the
religious person is named Simon. Jesus offers him a gentle corrective for
his lack of hospitality with a delightful parable of two debtors being
forgiven their debts.
Jesus takes the event to a deeper level and tells the woman that her sins
are forgiven even though they may be many for she has loved much and shown
this love to Jesus through her washing of his feet and anointing them.
Simon invited but she showed the expected hospitality and did it with great
love. The fact that Simon answers Jesus parable and its meaning correctly
indicates that he should have known better by properly welcoming Jesus and
by continuing to make Jesus feel welcome. The woman as an outsider did
Such love is indicative of other qualities in this unknown woman. Love
binds together the other virtues and is the summing up of even the virtue
of hope and faith. No wonder Jesus announced her love and forgave her
sins. Her love was genuine, respectful, and totally self-giving. Her
generosity is easily seen. Her humility definitely there.
Perhaps, we avoid certain people who come for assistance. Or we shortcut
them in their encounter with us. We may even speak about them and how
bothersome they are to us. We often fail in our own hospitality toward
others. We can learn much from today’s lesson that Jesus himself gives to
us and take on the characteristics of the woman rather than that of Simon
the religious one. This unnamed woman was seen by Jesus and extolled for
her love and hospitality. Which one am I in the parable that Jesus related
to Simon? Amen.