Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

A very difficult situation is presented in our Gospel reading. The woman who anoints our Lord in Simon the Pharisee’s house is a known sinner. Perhaps –we do not for sure- she was a prostitute. Maybe she was just a loose woman. Certainly she was someone of such a low reputation that people avoided her. They were afraid that any contact her would cause the sin to rub off on them. They would be unclean. And she there is: touching Jesus, kissing his feet, anointing him. Her actions were those of a person seeking forgiveness and, pay attention, Jesus forgave her immediately, no matter how bad she had been[1].

My brother, my sister, 2000 years after the Lord does the same for each one us, He does the same for those who have hurt us, and He does the same for those whom, in our arrogance, we would rather avoid.

Each of us could look to our lives and be overwhelmed by the complete malice of our sins and the enormity of God’s mercy. Perhaps we weren’t as evil as David[2]. Maybe we didn’t have the reputation of the woman in the Gospel, but there are still many incidents of darkness we would rather remain hidden. We could dwell on our pasts, but we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t because God doesn’t want us bogged down in the past, indeed He wants us to recognize His Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness and bring this love we have received to others.

There are certainly many people other than us who have been forgiven by the Lord. Some of these people have hurt us, and have asked for forgiveness. We need to forgive them. Quite often we hear stories about people who would rather die than forgive someone. Maybe there is someone in each of our pasts who has hurt us and sought forgiveness and whom we have walked away from rather than be reconciled to. We have an exigency to forgive. Jesus gives life. Hatred kills. He has forgiven us, and offered his life.

We need to accept his life and forgive others. Forgive us our trespasses, our sins, as we forgive those who trespass, sin, against us, is more than the conclusion to the Our Father. Those words contain the fundamental action of the Christian: forgive and love for we have been forgiven and loved.

God’s forgiveness is offered not just to us and to those whom we know who have hurt us, but also to those whom we don’t really know but whom we rather avoid. Maybe they are people who have come to the Lord for forgiveness. Maybe they are people who need us to lead them to forgiveness. We are not called to arrogance. We are called to holiness. We are not called to put ourselves above others, as though we are so spiritually superior to others. NO. We are not called to look down on anyone. We are not called to arrogance. But we are called to holiness, to be separate for the Lord. And we are called to lead others to the Lord. What Jesus is saying to us in the Gospel is that we should avoid sin, but not avoid the sinner.

If we are arrogant, if we carry ourselves as superior to others in any way, why would they want to join us, or our parish community? The arrogant cannot obey the Lord’s command to evangelize, spread the Gospel. We need to be kind and courteous with everybody.

We were not given the Mercy of God to accumulate for ourselves. We were given God’s mercy to share with others, to lead them to live also under the Mercy of God.

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord called us the light of the world[3]. There are so many people who are living in darkness. Many of us have lived in darkness ourselves. Notice how wonderful the Lord’s Light dispels the darkness in the lives of those who have hurt us and in the lives of those who are seeking guidance from the abyss of immorality.

Today, with this celebration of the Eucharist we pray today that we might be people of mercy, people of forgiveness, and people of Light.

My brother, my sister, to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.

Finally, let us invoke our blessed mother. Mary gave birth to Jesus and shared in his sacrifice. While dying on the Cross, Jesus entrusted his mother to his disciples saying Behold your mother[4]. Mary is thus recognized as the mother of salvation, life and grace. In fewer word: mother of mercy and refugee of sinners ■


[1] Sunday 13th June, 2010, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings:  2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done—Ps 31(32):1-2, 5, 7, 11. Galatians 2:16, 19-21. Luke 7:36 – 8:3 [St Anthony of Padua].
[2] Cfr 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13.
[3] Cfr Matthew 5:13-16.
[4] Jn 19:27

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris