11th Sunday Ordinary Time

11th Sunday Ordinary Time

Vol.5 No.40
Luke 7: 36-50
June 7, 2016
By Audrey Patterson

This is a story of God’s mercy and it is a beautiful reading for us to ponder during this Year of
Mercy. The lesson we learn from this scripture is that God’s mercy always leads to love.
Pope Francis has written a very beautiful book entitled “God’s name is Mercy”. He tells us that
mercy “is like the sky: We look at the sky when it is full of stars, but when the sun comes out
in the morning, with all its light, we don’t see the stars anymore. That is what God’s mercy is
like: a great light of love and tenderness because God forgives not with decree but with caress.

Only he who has been touched and caressed by the tenderness of His mercy really knows the
Lord. We stand before a God who knows our sins, our betrayals, our denials, our wretchedness
and yet He is there waiting for us, ready to give himself completely to us, to lift us up.”

With God there is no such word as enough. He never limits His grace, His love or His mercy.
It is only we who do that to ourselves.

We learn that Simon has invited Jesus to dine at his home. We don’t know why the invitation
was given. Perhaps Simon wanted to talk to Jesus, or question him, and didn’t want to go among
the common people where Jesus could be found. Or perhaps he wanted to show off that Jesus
would except his invitation. In any case, Simon did not treat Jesus as an honored guest or give
Jesus the normal signs of respect when he entered his home. Simon was a Pharisee and as such
considered himself to be an astute observer of the law. He was righteous in every way and thus
able to judge and condemn others. Simon was not in need of God’s mercy and so disqualified
himself from receiving the gift God in his goodness extends to each one of us. Simon had

The adulterous woman on the other hand had already received mercy and forgiveness from
Jesus. She came to the house to honor Him. She washed his feet with her tears, kissed them,
and dried them with her hair – a beautiful act of repentance. She brought a bottle of perfume in
an alabaster jar, a priceless gift, to anoint His feet. For a woman to loosen her hair in public was
a sign of great immodesty. The Pharisee was quick to take note and condemn her.

The woman took the risk of ridicule and abuse. She did something only love can do. She gave
without counting the cost. She took her precious possession and gave it all to Jesus. Her love
was not calculated but extravagant . She had a spirit of humility and heart felt repentance. She
lavished her treasure upon Jesus because He had shown her mercy, and mercy leads to love. By
telling Simon a story of two debtors, Jesus makes clear that great love springs from a heart
forgiven and cleansed.

The contrast of the attitude between Simon and the woman show how we can either accept or
reject God’s mercy. Simon regarded himself as worthy and upright and felt no need for pardon
or mercy. He had no need for God’s grace, His gracious gift of favor, help, and mercy.

The woman on the other hand had already received God’s forgiveness and so knew first hand of
His Great mercy. She was impelled by a force beyond herself to extend to Jesus her love in
response to His great gift.

Are we truly grateful for God’s mercy and pardon?
What is in your alabaster jar?
Are you willing to lay it at the feet of Jesus?
Which one of you will love Him more?

Let us pray. Lord Jesus, your grace is sufficient for me. Fill my heart with love and gratitude for
the mercy you have shown me and give me joy and freedom to love and serve others with
kindness and respect.

Author Info