Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: bathe his feet with her tears, Your sins are forgiven, Who is this, go in peace, good news of the kingdom of God

To the point: The familiar and comfortable context of dining at table becomes an occasion charged with tension. The tensions are many: a sinful woman intimately touches Jesus in public, a host does not extend simple ges- tures of hospitality, others at table are indignant at Jesus assuming the power and authority to forgive sins. Simon and his guests not only judge the sinful woman, but they also judge Jesus. They fail to see who Jesus is: the One who came to bring the “good news of the kingdom of God.” In this kingdom sinners touch God, receive forgiveness, and are granted peace. In this kingdom it is not tension and judgment that triumph, but love.

Connecting the Gospel …

... to the first reading: Despite all God has done for David, David knowingly and grievously sins against God. Confronted by Nathan the prophet for what he has done, David acknowledges his sin and is assured of God’s forgiveness. David does what the sinful woman in the gospel does. Simon and his guests do not.

... to experience: Seeking forgiveness from another whom we have grievously wronged is difficult. What often gives us the courage to go to the other to seek reconciliation is the desire to ease the tension and restore the relationship.

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson