Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year C

Arthur D. Johnson, O.S.A.
Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova
Rosemont, Pennsylvania

2 Sm 12: 7-10, 13
Ps 32: 1-2, 5, 7, 11
Gal 2: 16, 19-21
Lk 7: 36-8:3 or Lk 7:36-50

Our readings from scripture for today all have to do with sin, forgiveness and love. The three characters in them reveal to us how God feels about these realities. In the first reading we see David who as king felt that he could do whatever he wished. That included taking another’s wife and murdering of her husband. Nathan the prophet, speaking for God, confronted David publically and forcefully. David admitted his sin and repented. Nathan announced God’s forgiveness because of David’s honesty about his sinfulness and repentance. In the Gospel we see the same attitude on the part of the sinful woman. She came into the meal not to be fed by food, rather by Jesus. She was known to be a sinner but she acknowledged her fault, and by her actions showed her sorrow and desire for forgiveness. Jesus accepted her as she was and granted her request by forgiving her and offering His love. On the other hand the Pharisee, who had invited Jesus to the meal, was very judgmental of both the woman and Jesus. He would never let the sinful woman touch him. He judged Jesus ignorant of her reputation. In his mind Jesus should have dismissed her. He was not ready to forgive and so would receive little forgiveness of his own.

There have been times when I have been told to ignore certain people because they are so sinful. “You talk about love too much; you need to talk more about sin.” Sometimes I might feel that way too. That is the Pharisee in me speaking. The Gospel today makes it perfectly clear what Jesus would do, and does, and that He expects us to follow His example. We are all sinners but God gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that our love for God can grow. Our love of God must extend to one another. We are to imitate Jesus not the Pharisee. The more we are forgiven and forgive, the more our love of God will grow. We who eat at the table with Jesus (at Eucharist) must be like Him and be ready to forgive and be reconciled to one another. God loves us and urges us to love one another just as Jesus does.