Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13; Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11; Galatians 2:16, 19-21; Luke 7:36-8:3

First Reading: In the first reading David is surrounded by words of judgment and must choose how to respond. He is aware that he could easily use his temporal power to silence the prophet Nathan. But David knows he cannot silence the voice of God.

Psalm 32: Today’s Responsorial Psalm expresses the joy and thanksgiving of one whose sin is forgiven and whose relationship to God is restored. The refrain invites us to petition the Lord to forgive the wrong we have done.

Second Reading: In the second reading, Paul understands that the law is a gift by which the chosen people demonstrate their covenant with God. As such, the law is good. However, Paul now believes that God has offered humanity a new covenant through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Gospel: Today’s gospel recounts an important lesson in forgiveness, right relationship, and covenant love. Whenever we witness forgiveness extended to others, our response should not be to judge how much they may deserve it. We should rather give thanks for a God whose love is so great that we can count on mercy for ourselves as well.

Reflection: It always seems interesting when someone seems to be able to read minds. In today’s Gospel, Jesus, in addition to reading a mind, reads a heart. The mind belongs to Simon, a proud Pharisee who thinks he knows the heart of the woman who wipes the feet of Jesus with her tears. Simon, in fact, marvels that Jesus himself can’t see this woman for who she obviously is. But Jesus has read the heart of the woman much better than the presumptuous Simon. So Jesus offers Simon and his guests a parable that bears directly on the scene unfolding before Simon’s own table. Of two debtors forgiven different amounts, he asks, who will love the creditor more? The one forgiven more, says Simon.

Now Jesus sets the spotlight on the woman, noting how she, a sinner and an outcast, has shown him all the expected gestures of hospitality that Simon failed to provide. Her many sins have been forgiven and in response, she shows Jesus such great love. Just like the debtors of Jesus’ parable, she is forgiven, and then shows through her act of washing Jesus’ feet, her great love. Jesus has not only seen her “many sins,” he has already forgiven them and the woman can’t help but weep and perfume his feet in gratitude. Jesus’ point is that those forgiven much will love much and those forgiven little will love but little. That not an invitation to sin mightily, but to realize that no matter what our sins or state of life, we all have been forgiven much!

Today’s gospel focuses on the love and gratitude that result from having our debts cancelled and sins forgiven, and one does not need to be cured of evil spirits to understand that great joy.

Question for reflection: How have I shown great love to another after having my sins forgiven?

Copyright © 2016, Scott W. Eakins. All Rights Reserved.

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