Here’s the wisdom for this week.
7:36 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.
7:37 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.
7:38 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.
7:39 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.”
7:40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.”
7:41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
7:42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”
7:43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
7:44 Then turning toward 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.
7:45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.
7:46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.
7:47 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.”
7:48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
7:49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
7:50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”8:1 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,
8:2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
8:3 and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
What if There are Two Kinds of Christians and We’re Both Wrong?
“He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and his name is called the Word of God … from his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.” – Revelation 1:7
There are two kinds of people: those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who think that’s far too simple. But even if you’re in the second category, you have to admit that the second coming turns us into two kinds of Christian: gullible literalists and sophisticated liberals. “The Bible said it. I believe it. That settles it.” “Jesus is coming back with a sword in his mouth? Please.”
One promise. Two camps. What if we’re both wrong?
Many literalists believe that Jesus will come back angry. So they’re looking in the wrong place, waiting on a revenge fantasy. Meanwhile, as a good liberal, I’m convinced that God must correspond to whatever modernity deems possible. So I’m not looking at all.
They stare at heaven. I’ve got my eyes closed. Meanwhile, Jesus could return and we’d both miss him. Wait, here’s something scarier than a mouth-sword: what if he already did?
It could have happened this morning. I was visiting a parishioner coming out of traumatic, invasive surgery. She’s facing months of hard recovery. At the end of our visit I asked her what she wanted to pray for. Healing? A quick recovery? Patience? Strength?
She said, “Those children. The refugees from Syria. I want to pray for them.”
I swear, those were more than the words of a kind church woman. It might have been the voice of Christ himself. I shouldn’t have rushed through that prayer. I shouldn’t have hurried back to my office and my stupid email. I should have sat in that hospital room for hours, right on the edge of my chair, eyes wide open. Heart torn open.
Dear Jesus, give us eyes to see you. Amen.
Late have I loved you,
O Beauty, so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you.
For behold you were within me, and I outside;
and I sought you outside and in my unloveliness
fell upon those lovely things which you have made.
You were with me, and I was not with you.
I was kept from you by those things,
yet had they not been in you,
they would not have been at all.
You called and cried to me to break open my deafness
and you sent forth your beams and you shone upon me
and chased away my blindness.
You breathed fragrance upon me,
and I drew in my breath
and now do pant for you.
St. Augustine of Hippo