We are sinners and Jesus longs to forgive us, to mercy us if we will allow him. In this morning's First Reading from the Second book of Samuel the prophet Nathan reminds King David of all his failings. David's conscience is pierced, and he says to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan responds, “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.” We only have to say we are sorry, to let our hearts be broken open- perhaps even over and over again. The Lord is attentive and waits to mercy us.
A woman sneaks into a banquet in today's Gospel; she is a apparently a notorious sinner. Her anointing of Jesus' feet with costly ointment, bathing them with her tears and then wiping them with her hair is a lavish, loving gesture. And Jesus understands; Jesus gets it, he knows where she is coming from and what she is seeking. And he forgives her. To his shocked Pharisee host, Jesus responds that "her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." As Father Gabriel reminded us in this morning's homily, the love of God follows us relentlessly, always ready to forgive us. And it is this love that matters most. In a gloss on today's passage, Saint Gregory the Great will write, "Those who love more can do more."
Photograph by Brother Brian.