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September 17, 2020

St. Robert Bellarmine, SJ

Lk 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.” New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.  

Mercy: What God Wants for and from Us  

If we’re judging, we’re not loving. That’s just as true for the Pharisee as it is for the sinful woman, who could have judged herself unworthy and kept a distance from Jesus. She does not hide her sinfulness or minimize it. She does not rationalize her choices or point to the sins of others. Rather, she draws near to Jesus, treats him with tenderness, and encounters his mercy. She claims her sinfulness not to wallow in it, but to seek forgiveness for it. Today’s Gospel reminds us that God wants mercy for us and from us.  

What keeps us from drawing near to Jesus with tenderness, to encounter his mercy? Is it shame? Regret? Rationalization? Deception? Distraction? Whatever has kept us at a distance, this can be a moment to drop any hesitation. Pope Francis insists, “God never tires of forgiving us. It is we who get tired of asking for forgiveness.” 

Take a moment to be with Jesus, to experience his tender love. How can it bring you healing? 

Take a moment to think of someone you know who needs tenderness. How can you be a source of mercy for them today? 

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

God of Mercy,
I am sorry for the ways I have fallen short of loving as I should, 
or spending my time judging others 
or comparing myself to others,
rather than looking for your love at work in my life
and cooperating in sharing that love with others.
Help me to see with tenderness, hear with tenderness, think with tenderness, feel with tenderness,
speak with tenderness, and act with tenderness. 
Remind me that when I fall short, you never tire of forgiving me.
Help me to forgive as readily as you forgive me,
so that I can be your tenderness in the world today. 
Amen.  

—Marcus Mescher


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September 17, 2020

St. Robert Bellarmine, SJ

Lk 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.” New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.  

Mercy: What God Wants for and from Us  

If we’re judging, we’re not loving. That’s just as true for the Pharisee as it is for the sinful woman, who could have judged herself unworthy and kept a distance from Jesus. She does not hide her sinfulness or minimize it. She does not rationalize her choices or point to the sins of others. Rather, she draws near to Jesus, treats him with tenderness, and encounters his mercy. She claims her sinfulness not to wallow in it, but to seek forgiveness for it. Today’s Gospel reminds us that God wants mercy for us and from us.  

What keeps us from drawing near to Jesus with tenderness, to encounter his mercy? Is it shame? Regret? Rationalization? Deception? Distraction? Whatever has kept us at a distance, this can be a moment to drop any hesitation. Pope Francis insists, “God never tires of forgiving us. It is we who get tired of asking for forgiveness.” 

Take a moment to be with Jesus, to experience his tender love. How can it bring you healing? 

Take a moment to think of someone you know who needs tenderness. How can you be a source of mercy for them today? 

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

God of Mercy,
I am sorry for the ways I have fallen short of loving as I should, 
or spending my time judging others 
or comparing myself to others,
rather than looking for your love at work in my life
and cooperating in sharing that love with others.
Help me to see with tenderness, hear with tenderness, think with tenderness, feel with tenderness,
speak with tenderness, and act with tenderness. 
Remind me that when I fall short, you never tire of forgiving me.
Help me to forgive as readily as you forgive me,
so that I can be your tenderness in the world today. 
Amen.  

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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