Jesus forgives a sinful woman and admonishes a disbelieving Pharisee. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruits of Chastity and Self-control so he can be helped by the Spirit in the battle against Lust and by seeking the Gifts of the Holy Spirit so can continue to grow in holiness on his path to Heaven.

Liturgy

24th Week in Ordinary time – Thursday – Lk 7:36-50

Commentary

Jesus is invited by a wealthy Pharisee named Simon to his house for a meal. Despite Jesus’ growing reputation as a great prophet (He had recently raised the widow’s son from the dead in Nain – Lk 7:11-17), Simon is skeptical of Jesus; he refuses the most common courtesies (water for washing feet, a kiss of brotherhood), especially insulting given Jesus’ growing reputation and stature as a rabbi.  Simon, foolishly, has invited Jesus into his home to test Him.  

Jesus sits reclined at table, His feet behind Him.  A woman, recognized by her reputation in the town as a sinner, likely a prostitute or promiscuous, subtly crawls up behind Jesus, washes His feet with her tears, dries His feet with her hair and applies expensive ointment. Jesus correctly assesses both the state of the woman’s soul and Simon’s soul.  The sinful woman has fully repented, put her faith in Jesus, and demonstrated profound humility and reverence for the Lord.   

In contrast, Simon, mistakenly confident in his own righteousness, is deceitful in his praise, calling Jesus “Teacher”, while judging Jesus to be a false prophet, and judging the sinful woman in his heart. Using a parable and asserting His authority over Simon, Jesus engages Simon to expose his own sinfulness and his lack of charity; ominously, Jesus implies Simon’s lack of repentance, love for the woman and respect for Him, will effect Jesus’ forgiveness of Simon’s sins. In contrast, Jesus startles those in attendance by forgiving the woman’s sins, crediting her faith (and repentance) and telling her to “go in peace.” 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at how Jesus perfectly demonstrates parts of Justice: He encourages the humble act of Religion (Adoration/Sacrifice for God) by the sinful woman; He Protects and Defends the despondent woman from Simon; He Vindicates (a part of Justice by which rewards and punishments are carried out) the woman, by expressing Gratitude for her beautiful and comforting act while bluntly Admonishing (a Spiritual Work of Mercy) Simon for his lack of hospitality and judgment of the woman; Divine Priest, He prefigures the Sacrament of Penance, forgiving the woman. 

See the Spirit’s help to battle against lust

Realize: Many Catholic men fall into the grave sin of lust by viewing pornography and by masturbation; anticipating pornography, Jesus condemns gazing at a woman with lust as adultery (Mt 5:28). Just as Jesus forgives the sexual sins of the repentant and contrite woman, He will forgive every man who repents and is contrite for his sexual sins. 

Believe: Reflect upon the mortal sin of viewing Pornography (CCC 2354), Masturbation (CCC 2352), and The 9th Commandment (CCC 2514-2533).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Chastity and Self-Control so my heart and thoughts remain pure, I abstain from viewing pornography and masturbation, and I immediately receive the Sacrament of Penance if I fall into sexual sin; Lord, let me receive Your Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist so I may be protected from sexual temptation.

Hunger for the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit

Realize: After repenting and being forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance, Jesus pours out grace through the Holy Spirit into the souls of those forgiven of their sins; each grateful soul, in turn, becomes a fountain of love (CCC 2712).  

Believe: Reflect upon the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1830-1832).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Power, help me more fully accept the Gifts of the Holy Spirit  in my soul, so the beautiful Fruits of the Spirit might be a blessing to me and all others in my life.