Reflection on Gospel of the day Sept 18 “Only by admitting that we are a sinner can we receive Mercy”

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Pope Francis writes, “He only says the word salvation- ‘Your faith has saved you’ to the woman, who is a sinner. And he says it because she was able to weep for her sins, to say. ‘I am a sinner’, and admit it to herself. He doesn’t say the same to those people, who were not bad people: they simply did not believe themselves to be sinners. Other people were sinners: the tax collectors, prostitutes…These were the sinners…This is why the ability to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness.”

Raymond Richmond, PH.D. in his book, ‘Psychology from the Heart’ writes, ” Forgiveness comes from sorrow. Not sorrow for anything you have done, but sorrow for the very fact that everyone, including yourself, has the same ugly capacity to inflict harm on others, wittingly or unwittingly. Notice the words I just said: including yourself. This is where everyone gets stuck, even your siblings, because it’s easy enough to see that your mother was hurtful, but to admit that you have the same human capacity for hurt is just to distasteful. In fact, anyone who has been victimized has a human urge to receive compensation, and for you to admit that you and the victimizer are no different from each other-at the human level-is quite terrifying, for it jeopardizes some of the claim to compensation.”

Thought for the day: the pharisee felt everyone else was the sinner. He didn’t see his own sin. How easy it is for us to see the sin in others, but be blind to our own sin. The good news is that when we admit our sins without excuses we receive God’s Mercy. Pope Francis writes, “The privileged place to encounter Jesus Christ is in our sins.”



2 thoughts on “Reflection on Gospel of the day Sept 18 “Only by admitting that we are a sinner can we receive Mercy””

  1. I have been spending hours searching to help my friend Lilian attend a healing Mass of yours for her son who has kidney cancer and is due for surgery. What is your availability now that you are not at St. Mary of Sorrows, Fr., please? Thank you so much.
    Audrey Zimmermann

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