Mẹ Cứu Giúp

JESUS I TRUST IN YOU

Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose in the other members' private lives. Church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon.

She commented to George and others that everyone, seeing it there, would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house... and left it there all night!

Gossips

There is a lot of gossiping going on in our society today. The media networks, internets, Facebook, YouTube, are the main sources for gossiping. Once someone discovers a scandal or problems of a public official, a celebrity, or a church man, immediately cameras and reporters arrive at the scene. Many journalists have become professional gossipers. On Sunday, they form panels on different networks to gossip about others. There are lot of accusations and condemnations during these gossiping sessions. People are quick to criticize others’ behaviors and actions.

For example, Abby Sunderland, a 16 years old American girl attempted to sail around the world. Last week she was stranded for two nights in rough Indian Ocean seas. Fortunately she was rescued on Saturday by a French fishing vessel. Many people were quick to criticize her and her parents for being irresponsible to allow her to make this dangerous adventure. Some people accused her of becoming “the poster child for the next generation of the self-absorbed who are over confident in their limited abilities.”

Last three years, 15,000 priests gathered in Rome with the Pope to celebrate the closing of the year of the priests. Pope Benedict XVI, addressing the sexual abuse crisis, spoke to the priests and the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square: “We begged for forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again.” Many people discredited the Pope and the Church by saying that the Church has not done enough and not gone far enough.

Reflecting on the story of the Gospel for today and thinking of the “zero tolerant” policy on child sexual abuses, one strike and you are out, I keep wondering how Jesus would judge us and the officials of the Church on this issue. Who would speak for a priest who had sinned and has truly repented? Where will he belong? Society and the public condemned him. The Church is not allowed to claim them. They must be very alone and lonely in this world.

Confusions

We are breathing in and be fed by the political culture that has become so polarized. Liberals are against conservatives; law abiders are against the lawbreakers. Legal immigrants and patriotic people are against the illegal immigrants. The righteous are against the unrighteous people. We do not know how to show understanding, compassion and forgiveness.

A woman was interviewed for a secretary position at a church’s office. The pastor was a bit off guard when she asked what the members of the congregation would think about a secretary who was divorced. He admitted that he hadn’t really thought about that question. Then a fellow pastor told about the secretary at his church whom he learned had been a prostitute. She was a very good secretary, and very few members of the congregation knew anything about her former life. But she did not feel very good about herself. She despised what she had done and she despised the men who paid her for the use of her body. She also despised the people she believed would condemn her if they knew of her former profession. She was desperately looking for understanding, love and acceptance.

One week when the secretary was typing up the sermon for the pastor. The sermon was on the Gospel’s story of the sinful woman. When she finished typing it, she asked to talk with the pastor. She didn’t understand the statement he had made that Jesus accepted all people knowing who and what they were. For she could not believe that God or God’s people could accept her, knowing who she was and what she had done. The pastor read her from this text from Luke 7. The secretary got tears in her eyes. "How I wish I was that woman," she said. "That woman is you!" he replied and she cried. "Would you baptize me, knowing what I am?" she asked. He did, and her baptism was one of the most moving events in his ministry (Frank Rothfuss, Begrudging God’s Grace).

The Lesson

A Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to have dinner with him. A woman, Luke tells us, who had lived “a sinful life” learned that Jesus was at the Pharisee’s house. She showed up at the dinner and approached Jesus. She wept so profusely that she wet his feet with her tears. She wiped his feet with her hair. She kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When Simon the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is that she is a sinner.”
Jesus knew what Simon was thinking. “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender,” Jesus said. “One owed him five hundred, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
Jesus turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You didn’t give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

People like Simon think of themselves being righteous. They have little sin or no sin at all. Therefore, they feel they have little to be forgiven. They do not owe society or God for forgiveness.

The sinful woman, on the other hand, was a known sinner. She had many sins. She could not forgive herself. Society also would not forgive her. Obviously the church official would not forgive her either. According to Simon, the Pharisee, she should not come close to Jesus. He wondered, “If Jesus were a prophet he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him.” 

Jesus, however, is different. He forgives her. He saw the deep feelings of her heart. She was sincere and remorseful. He accepted her. And she was grateful. People who are most fervent about their Christian faith are motivated by a sense of gratitude. Gratitude comes from the experience of being understood, forgiven and accepted. We need to recognize how loving and generous God is to us. None of us is too bad to be saved, and none of us is too good to need saving. It is important to keep in mind that the reason Jesus came into the world is to save sinners. We need redemption. The world needs redemption. Our liturgical celebrations throughout the year are reminding us that God is a loving and merciful God. Jesus understands our human weakness and brokenness. That is why he is here with us.

The act of the sinful woman anointing the feet of Jesus is a sign of her sincere sorrow for sin. Her repentance leads to her healing. Jesus’ response to her shows that no one is going to be kept away from receiving God’s forgiveness. What Christ is teaching us is to trust in God’s mercy and learn to forgive others as God is forgiving us our sins.

Fr. John Kha Tran