The story in today’s Gospel is familiar. Jesus, is invited to a dinner party, and a woman provides a service that His host had failed to offer. The other guests at the party were scandalized because the woman was considered by them to be a “sinner”. Jesus should have known! Jesus responds first by pointing out His host’s lapse, and then by telling a little parable about two individuals forgiven debts, one small and one large, and asks His host which would be more loving. The host correctly answers that the one forgiven the most would likely be the most grateful and loving. Jesus then tells the assembled guests that the woman’s sins have been forgiven. The guests are shocked and wonder how Jesus could presume to forgive sins, which is something only God can do. But the story doesn’t say that Jesus did the forgiving, and the parable that he told made it clear that the forgiveness preceded the woman’s gratitude. Jesus tells his fellow guests that He could tell that the woman had been forgiven (past tense) by virtue of the loving service she provided. She couldn’t have done it had she not already accepted God’s forgiveness.
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