October 27, 2019, Luke 7:36-50 – Post 2

Today let’s turn our attention more to the uninvited guest, the woman, and the reactions her presence and actions seem to precipitate.

Our narrator tells us she is “a woman in the city, who was a sinner” who when she learned that Jesus was at the Pharisee’s house made her way to the Pharisee’s house, with a jar of ointment she obtained from someplace. Not only did she go the Pharisee’s house with a jar in hand, but then made her way into the house, to the dinner table where the guest’s were and then placed herself “behind [Jesus] at his feet.”

And if she hadn’t broken decorum enough and pushed herself past the socially accepted way people enter another’s house, she begins to cry, let her tears fall on Jesus’ feet, wipe her hair against his feet, kiss his feet and pour oil on them. You might ask (as some at the dinner probably did), “Doesn’t this woman know how to behave around proper people”?

While we do not yet see Jesus reacting, we do see the Pharisee reacting.

He reacts first to the woman by judging her a sinner (as did our narrator), and then by Jesus not reacting to the woman as the Pharisee thinks correct, and given the Pharisee’s idea of how a proper prophet should behave, he judges Jesus to lack the character and standing of a proper prophet.

Do you think the Pharisee is getting more than he bargained for at this dinner?

Now Jesus reacts by getting Simon’s attention and saying he wants to speak to Simon. And Simon gives Jesus permission to speak. All that seems very proper.

Jesus puts a question to Simon about cancelled debts and love and Simon answers correctly.

Then our attention is turned to the woman, and he directs Simon’s attention to the woman. Jesus has a few choice words for Simon about his failure as a proper host, the woman’s actions, her love and her forgiven sins.

It seems Jesus can move from being a proper guess to being an impolite guest quickly. Surely it is impolite to so criticize a host in front of guests.

But then, isn’t it the case that so often Jesus steps outside the cultural norms? Why? Because he likes breaking the rules, he likes stirring things up, he likes seeing the know-it-alls taken down a notch or two?

That might be why we would do that, or maybe not?

Or, might Jesus so want others to know the Kingdom of God is breaking in and the Kingdom is breaking down the barriers we put up that he doesn’t want to miss a chance to remind us the Kingdom is within reach of all of us.

What do you think? Could Jesus have said one day, “The Kingdom of God is like a dinner party at Simon’s house, when ….. “

We’ll talk more later.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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