Itís a little difficult to put ourselves into the scene of todayís Gospel. Jesus as attending a dinner at the house of a certain Simon who was a Pharisee. It was obviously a major feast, guests reclining on couches around a group of tables, folks wandering in from the roads to watch what was going on Ė a gathering of celebrity watchers. Many wanted to get a quick look at the legendary rabbi from Nazareth. They were shocked to see a woman washing his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, and bathing his feet with oil.
While such things were done sometimes for distinguished celebrities, they were not done in the houses of rich Pharisees. Why did Jesus put up with such adoration?
It is remarkable that the incident was remembered as vividly as it was because Jesus' followers were certainly embarrassed by it as some of them would be even today. Why didnít he just chase them away?
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time a certain well known priest was seen coming out of a disorderly house in his parish. A photographer got a picture of him. A newspaper printed it. A group of Catholic laity put together a petition to the bishop to remove him as pastor. No priest should be seen emerging from such a place. The priest was summoned downtown. The bishop, the chancellor and the vicar general sat behind the bishopís desk, staring at him implacably. They didnít much like him because he was a bit of a trouble maker. They were delighted to have something with which to slap him down.
They didnít ask him to sit down. Youíve seen this picture, Father. Once or twice. What is that building from which you are exiting. It is a house of ill repute, he replied with a smile. What were you doing there? Visiting some of my parishioners. At 11:00 at night? Thatís when they called me. And you felt obliged to visit them at that hour? At any hour of night someone in the parish calls, I respond. You were giving spiritual solace to those unfortunate women? No bishop. What were you doing?
Administering the last sacraments of the Church. I said the funeral mass for her the next day and went to the graveside. Any objection. There wasnít any. Well said the youngest of the troika, we must be careful of giving bad example. And Jesus said once that those who have been forgiven much love much. They didnít say anything at all after that.
Psalm 92:1-2, 12-15
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing
praises to your name, O Most High;
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