*Love is So Powerful; it even remove our sins*
(Homily for Thursday 20th September 2018).
_“I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much” *(Luke 7:47).*_
Yesterday, St. Paul made us understand the fact that amongst all the gifts we can aspire for, none is as great as love. Today, Jesus teaches us another very important lesson that love covers a multitude of sins. How and why is this so?
We are told that Jesus was at the house of one Pharisee who had invited him over for food. It is interesting to note that Jesus would not turn down an invitation even from one who belonged to the party of his greatest critics. As much as the Pharisees hated Jesus and were even planning to get rid of Him, Jesus for His part loved them and ceased every occasion to teach them the truth. True love is not being kind to those who love and care for you (trade by barter), true love is going to eat in the house of your enemy. True love is kindness and honour you give even to someone you know is planning to kill you.
Now Jesus is eating with the company of Pharisees, sharing ideas with them, laughing and drinking not minding what people were saying about him. Recall that in yesterday’s Gospel’s passage, Jesus noted that people called him a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners because they saw Him eating and drinking wine in public. As if to confirm what the people were saying, 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.
To the look of all those at table, this woman’s action was nothing other than a scandal. It is funny that no one dared to say anything but inside their hearts, they were saying: “If this man (Jesus) was a real prophet, he would have known that this woman touching Him is not a good person.”
While the Pharisee was judging and condemning both Jesus and the woman, Jesus was reading his heart seeing his pretence, his hypocrisy. Jesus also read the woman’s heart and He saw that she had no ulterior motive. She had not come to seduce Jesus. In fact, her heart was even cleaner than those who were judging her. In truth, we judge people based on our own sinfulness. For instance, a thief believes every person who tiptoes in the dark is probably going to steal, and so on. Watch out for how you judge people, you might just be projecting your own guilt.
We are not told what sin this woman was known for but from her action, we can tell that her tears were shed out of regret for her past life. Using her hair (a woman’s pride) to wipe Jesus’ feet was an act of self-humiliation before God. Kissing the feet of Jesus in public was an act of expressing her rejection of her past lovers. Using her ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus was her way of offering all she had to live on to God. In summary, this woman performed an act of true love; the kind St. Paul talked about yesterday.
When we use the word ‘love’, we often refer to a feeling we derive from being with or having someone we are attracted to. Love in this sense is selfish in that it is basically about how this person brings me a sense of completion, how this person makes me happy or does this or that for me. This love soon becomes hatred when I am no longer getting a sense of fulfilment from this person or when this person no longer gives me or no longer does things for me. In the end, it was all about me, me and me. I never really loved the person, I only loved myself while trying to use the person.
The love that God wants from us is that which takes us out of ourselves, that which is completely unselfish, that which reaches out to give without thinking of the self. This love is not about “what am I getting from this person” but “how can I make this person better.” This kind of love has nothing to do with physical attraction and it is never exclusive, never secretive and always open to the good of others. This is the love that makes us step out of your way like Jesus to die for a people who reject you. This is the love Jesus read in the eyes of the woman who without thinking of herself emptied all she had (her pride, her security, her money) on his feet. This love is the most powerful force on earth; so powerful that it even absolves us of our sins.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love better and to strive only to please you. Amen. St. Andrew Tim Taegon and companions, Pray for us. Amen
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1st Corinthians 15:1-11, Psalm 118:1-28, and Luke 7:36-50)*