1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Simon, the Pharisee, somehow missed the "menu" for the supper to which he invited Jesus. He stands watching Jesus who is reclining at the table. The woman standing behind Jesus was clearly seen as a prostitute because of her long hair. Simon sees that. How could Jesus not see that? He did. But unlike Simon he sees and experiences something far deeper. She is crying. Her tears fall on Jesus’
feet dirtied from walking the unpaved roads. She washes his feet with her tears and then dries them with her hair. She bends to kiss his feet. Simon can’t believe his eyes. "Doesn’t he know who she is? He’s supposed to be a prophet."
Jesus spotted what was going on in Simon’s head. And so he presents Simon with the little story of two men who owned money…one, very little, whereas, the other, quite a bit. "Who will be most grateful?" asks Jesus. "The one who is forgiven the greater debt." "Simon, much is forgiven this woman because she loves much."
Would you find yourself saying: Simon, you didn’t get it. This woman came to your house because of a hunger for forgiveness. She had heard that Jesus would be here. She needed to see him. He didn’t turn her away. He didn’t object to her presence. He didn’t call the waiters to get rid of her. She was hungry. Oh, so hungry. "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith, your trust in me, has saved you. Go in peace."
Are there times when "we don’t get it?" Picture a family gathered around a table set with the best of food, a parish family present at a Eucharistic celebration or a classroom of students and teacher settling in for the day or a gathering of men and women in a work situation. All may look good on the outside. But how many go away hungry. How different it would have been if there was love, acceptance, forgiveness, the offer to help, or just to listen.
How often do I send people away hungry. A full tummy doesn’t feed a hungry, yearning, hurting heart and soul.
Fr. Peter Berendt, C.P. is on the staff of Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center, Houston, Texas.