“One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then, she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty could not pay. Interestingly, the creditor. cancelled the debts for both of them. Now, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then, turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Every week, we consistently engage in the study of the Gospel of Luke. Today, I would like to focus on certain thoughts from Luke 7:36-50 which record in depth arguments on sin, sinners and forgiveness. These subjects are predominantly misunderstood dogmas in the Christian domain and limited only as rituals. In fact, rituals are one of the greatest art forms in exercising spirituality, which serves the base to reimagine our praxis for Christ in the divided world.
Every dogmatic construction in the scripture is the product of the Church and has its own influence from culture and a specific world view. When we crystalize these dogmatic constructions, we can lucidly trace two worlds, one world with God and another without God. God’s world must be understood properly. Many times God is misunderstood when using only with subjective prism and the worst effect in this understanding turns to be more fundamental which sprouts the fastest and polarizes values. Such spectrums do halt the harmony of human life and keep the world under sin.
This text deeply articulates the perspective of many men about a woman who anointed Jesus at Simon’s house. I strongly feel that the sin of judging others escalates rottenness in human relationships. Here, the degenerating views about the women blinded them to participate in God’s grace. We judge people
because we are influenced by a particular worldview. Lack of openness and transparency blinds us to see the aesthetics of creation and its interconnectedness. If our world view is broad and inclusive with a sense of positivity, it represents the world of God, spontaneously. Supposedly, if it negates the other with exclusive instincts, then our world view of God is limited. It causes great damage to the finest design of coexistence and peace in the society and de-harmonizes the rhythm of life.
The Jewish community, being misogynistic, subdued women and viewed the gender as sinful. This construct is a colossal wreck and a reflection of the patriarchal traits. The eyes of Jesus were so different, and they were divine. He accepted her unconditionally because God accepts everyone who turns to Him. He never bothers about who we are; he rejoices when people turn to him. “Turn to God” implies a deeper meaning; it’s understanding God's love that assures new life and always grounds in truth and justice. Without any doubt she approached Jesus and her infallible love to God was approved by Jesus. Let us continue to have Jesus’s eyes in us. Oh Holy Spirit help us to have the right perspective.
Keeping this in mind, I invite you to ponder over the following questions.
1. What is sin? 2. Who is a sinner? 3. What do we mean by “forgiveness?”
Sin is a state that alienates man from God. It is an act of estrangement from God’s presence. Can we escape God? It's impossible because we believe the God who is present everywhere. So, it's a state of mind that deviates from God’s will or God’s viewpoint of life. Here, the woman became a saint since she turned to God, but the people who were judging became sinners. Preoccupied thoughts about the other, maintains a stagnation in relationships and fails to celebrate the true essence of life.
When we lack the consciousness of God we become a sinner. This definition will map everyone as sinners because we all vacillate and oscillate between different instincts every day. St. Paul clearly elucidates that accepting the other is the true qualification of saints. 1 Timothy 1;15 highlights, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance; Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners— of whom I am the worst.” St. Paul calls himself a chief sinner because of the consistent struggle between the world views.
“Forgiveness” is a state of realizing our true self with God and others. It is an assurance of the abundance of God’s grace for redemption and renewal of a sinner. It is a state of being feeling the eternal hope in the context of guilt and remorse. God always forgives because his love is genuine. God also empowers the forgiven to forgive the other and to heal broken relationships. Building relationships is the basic call of a Christian. The forgiven saint will have the eyes of God and the heart of God and imitate Christ by accepting every one.
Let us continue to be an accepting church, cherishing the world view of God to realize the offer of grace through the blood of Christ. Amen
God bless these words.