Memory of the Church

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The Jews today celebrate Yom Kippur (Day of Expiation).


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 7,36-50

One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee's house and took his place at table, suddenly 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 and what sort of person it is who 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.' He replied, 'Say on, Master.' '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 let them both off. Which of them will love him more?' Simon answered, 'The one who was let off more, I suppose.' Jesus said, 'You are right.' Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, '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, many as they are, have been forgiven her, because she has shown such great love. It is someone 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 even forgives sins?' But he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While Jesus is at the table--invited by a Pharisee called Simon--a prostitute comes close to him. She lies down next to him and, while crying, anoints his feet with perfume. The scene is undoubtedly unique, in all aspects. Luke does not speak simply of a woman, but of a sinner. And then one can understand well the reaction of those present. In truth, they do not understand the woman and her desire to be forgiven nor Jesus love who welcomes and forgives her. Jesus, who till then has been silent and let the woman kiss his feet, now takes the initiative. Turning to Simon Jesus tells him the short parable of the two debtors. Neither one of them could pay the debt. And both of them are pardoned regardless. Jesus then asks Simon the Pharisee, which of the two loves the master more. The answer is clear: "The one for whom he cancelled the greater debt!" The parable supposes that the two, both the Pharisee and the sinful woman, have received something from Jesus. Jesus invites us not to think we are right or just little sinful. Just the opposite, he calls us to open our eyes to our sin and to feel, like that sinful woman, the need to be forgiven. Yes, we too need to hear: "Your sins are forgiven you." And we will understand even more the words that Jesus says on that occasion: "Her many sins were forgiven, for she has loved much." Love, in fact, erases sins and changes our lives.