October 27, 2019, Luke 7:36-50

This week’s Scripture takes us to a Pharisee’s dinner table a number of his invited guests, one of whom is Jesus, and one uninvited guest, a woman of questionable moral standing.

That could make for interesting conversation around the table. But we’re not given a report about the importance of the Torah. Instead our attention is focused on the uninvited guest and Jesus’ remarks about forgiveness and faith.

Let’s start by reading the Scripture passage slowly (several times?) and pay attention not just to words but to the actions of the people and the emotions they all bring to the table.

Luke 7:36-50

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.

And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher,” he replied, “speak.”

“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Pay attention to the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his table for a few minutes.

How does he act toward Jesus? How does he act toward the woman? What are the differences in how he relates to each? Why? Does the way he relates to each give you any clues to how he respects, or disrespects or values or discounts either? What do you think gives rise to how he sees each and how it changes during the course of this incident?

Spend some time with the Pharisee now and when we get back together we’ll move on to other items in the narrative.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.