Reflecting on Luke 7: 36-50
When I read about the lavish care the “sinful woman” gives to Jesus I feel a lingering sense of anger. The Pharisees are shocked, of course, and I think we would be too. They are stunned that this “prophet” doesn’t realize that he is letting a woman of the streets touch him. We would be stunned at anyone in our world today who is capable of feeling great sorrow for sin.
I’m thinking, for example, of Dylann Roof. Just hours after he murdered nine people in prayer at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church one year ago, the survivors and the loved ones of the murdered gathered to announce that they had forgiven him. They forgave because they chose long ago to immerse their brains and hearts in Jesus and the scriptures. Hence, they knew that forgiveness was the only balm that could heal them.
Dylann appears to be unfazed by that astonishing love. At age 21, his brain was, of course, still not fully formed. He was, like so many of his mass-murderer cohort, “shy.” And he had easy access to vicious, ugly, white supremacist websites which no doubt filled in the gaps left by a culture that doesn’t require us to honestly and painfully reflect on our sins, in what we have done and what we have failed to do.
The scriptures show us how the rightly formed human heart responds to forgiveness. Think of the prodigal son, or the “sinful woman,” or St. Peter. Even the Roman centurion, filled with remorse after the crucifixion, cried, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mk. 15:39).
Where are the weeping gun dealers? Where are the horrified website managers? Where, for that matter, are we?
How are you showing your deep gratitude to those who have forgiven you?
Kathy McGovern ©2016