“Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.” (Luke 7:47)
Jesus was at the house of one Pharisee who had invited him over. As much as many of the Pharisees hated Jesus, Jesus loved them perfectly. True love is not being kind only to those who love you (trade by barter), true love is being able to eat even in the house of your enemy; the house of someone you know is planning to kill you. While Jesus was there, a woman of the city nicknamed “sinner” came in with her alabaster jar of oil, stood by Jesus’s feet and began to wet them with her tears, wipe them with her hair, kiss them with her lips and anoint them with her expensive oil.
No one dared to say anything but Jesus knew what they were thinking in their hearts: “If this man (Jesus) was a real prophet, he would have known that this woman touching him is not a good person.” You know, we always tend to judge people based on our own sinfulness. For instance, a thief believes every person who tiptoes in the dark is probably going to steal. Watch out for how you condemn others, you are probably projecting your own guilt towards them.
This woman shed a lot of tears due to her regret for her past life (she had a bad reputation). This is the correct attitude we must have when we confess our sins in the Sacrament of Penance. This woman did not speak but used hear tears to confess her sins. She was truly sorry and in the end, she obtained forgiveness of her sins. We cannot deceive God when we go for confession; we cannot pretend to be sorry when deep within us, we are planning to repeat the same sins.
Using her hair (her pride) to wipe Jesus’ feet was an act of self-humiliation before God; her action can be compared to the tax collector who would not bother to raise his head when he went to the temple to pray. If we have faith in God, we would humble ourselves in His presence. We would not turn His house into a social gathering.
In kissing the feet of Jesus in public, this woman was expressing her rejection of her past lovers. This is what we do when we publicly recite the Creed. By using our own lips to confess our allegiance to God, we denounce any attachment to the devil. In as much as it is not wrong to confess our sins secretly, the church in its wisdom recommends confessing “our sins to one another” (James 5:16). If you truly desire to repent from a sinful habit, talk about it in the open, this way you break your attachment to it.
By using her ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus, this woman was making a sacrificial offering to Jesus. In both Matthew and Mark’s version of this same passage, we are told that Judas complained that the oil could have been sold. The point here is, this woman made a huge sacrifice by this action. She acted like the man who upon finding a treasure in a field went and sold all he had to buy that field.
If truly we love God, nothing will be too much in our eyes to give to Him. And what can we really give to God? The sacrifice of abstaining from sin, the holiness of life, purity of heart, loving our neighbours as we love ourselves; these are gifts that please God.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love better and to strive only to please you. AmenBible Study: 1st Corinthians 15:1-11, Psalm 118:1-28, and Luke 7:36-50).