Daily Reflection
September 16th, 1999
J.J. O'Leary, S.J.
Medical School Chaplain
1 Timothy 4:12-16
Psalms 111: 7-10
Luke 7:36-50
In today's gospel, Luke recounts a beautiful story of Jesus meeting a woman known by all to be a sinner.  The background to this story is interesting because our Lord had just excoriated the Parisees for their hypocrisy.  The only people Jesus chastised were the religious leaders.  Immediately following this denunciation, Simon, one of the Pharisees, invited Him for dinner.  As they were eating a woman appears at Our Lord's feet.  Why did she even come to Our Lord?  She must have heard of Him and perhaps He showed Himself as a kind and understanding man.  She stood at His feet weeping and then bathed and annointed Our Lord's feet.  Simon is thinking, doesn't this great prophet know who is touching Him?  Jesus read his heart and told the brief story of two people in debt to the same man and since neither would repay the debt he cancelled the debts of both.  Jesus asked Simon, "Who would love more?"  Simon replied, " the one that was forgiven more."  Jesus took this response to show how all her sins had been forgiven hence she has shown such great love.  Then Jesus said, "Where little has been forgiven, little love is shown."  Simon had little to be forgiven but he would never love as this woman.  It seems her very sinfulness carved out and etched out in her a greater capacity to love.  She was forgiven much and now she would love much.  Jesus continues to deal with us the same way.  When we honestly bring our weaknesses and sins to the Lord, receive His ever-present forgiveness, we seem to become even greater lovers.

Perhaps that is why one spiritual writer said God is closer to sinners than to saints.  This is how he explained it.  God in heaven holds each person by a string.  When we sin, we cut the string.  Then God ties it up again, making a knot and thus bringing us a little closer to Him.  Again and again, our sins cut the string and with each further knot God keeps drawing us closer and closer.

So there is hope for us sinners.  Nothing can separate us from God and God does bring good out of evil.  For this we say, thank you God.

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