The Gospel of the Day – 2016.06.12
One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him and what a bad name she has.’ Then Jesus took him up and said, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Speak, Master’ was the reply. ‘There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’
Then he turned to the woman. ‘Simon,’ he said ‘you see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’
Now after this he made his way through towns and villages preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and several others who provided for them out of their own resources.
Follow the Leader
In the week leading up to this day, the week of June 5th, 2016; Pope Francis “the Good” elevated the celebration of the sainthood of Mary Magdalene to the status of a Liturgical Feast.
On July 22nd, and forevermore the whole Church will celebrate her feast as the whole Church always should have, giving her credit for her apostolic work; Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles.
Today’s reading reminds us of the peril of class consciousness, of how it obfuscates, and blinds us. It points out the error of Simon, who in the periscope, we think of as Simon the Pharisee, a colleague of Jesus as they were both Pharisees. This is the same Simon who became Jesus’ disciple, chief of the disciples, who Jesus later named Peter, the founder of the Church.
Simon believed it was beneath the dignity of Jesus to associate with Mary, he believed it was beneath the dignity of his house to even have her beneath his roof.
What Simon did not know, was that when he invited Jesus to cross his threshold, he invited the whole Church to come through the door with him; female and male, sinner and saint, clean and unclean, the whole Church.
Simon’s gruff nature, and the deep confusion that dogged him, about Jesus; this was on full display. The periscope contrasts that confusion with the clarity, purpose and resolve of Mary Magdalene; who was never in doubt.
At the end of Jesus’ ministry, Simon would reject Jesus, and abandon him, while Mary prayed at the foot of the cross. And when Jesus had risen, he appeared first to Mary, who subsequently went to find Simon, and just as in this passage, showed him the way to the risen Christ, the true Church.
It was the women who followed Jesus, that built the church. It is long past time we honored them as at least equal to the men who followed him, who betrayed and abandoned him when the going got tough.
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time