Lectio Divina – 3
Fr Martin Kallungal
“‘There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he let them both off. Which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘The one who was let off more, I suppose.’ Jesus said, ‘You are right.’ Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘You see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair.You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, many as they are, have been forgiven her, because she has shown such great love. It is someone who is forgiven little who shows little love’” (LK 7:40-47).
We can receive the Word our God is giving us in this parable of a merciful money lender through Simon and the woman. Let us consider the woman first. Given the nature of the causal relationship between forgiveness and love, it is legitimate to think that the woman had already been forgiven, and that’s why she could love Jesus through various acts of devotion. Father’s forgiving love precedes our filial love for Him. True devotion is a response, not a generous initiative from the part of the believer and much less a routine religious act. Second, note what Jesus asks Simon: “You see this woman?” It is an invitation to see the woman afresh without his wrong prejudices. Simon saw her earlier, but as a sinner to be hated. But, now Jesus asks him to see her inner worth, the depth of her repentance, the warmth of her love, and the beauty of her devotion. Jesus showed him how much she is loved by God even when people hate her. The woman is loved more than Simon and others; and the woman loved Jesus much more than Simon who offered a festive meal and the guests who honoured Jesus through their cold presence. Everyone learns that the heart of celebration is devotion.
O my God, each time I bow down my head for the absolution at the confessional, I am reminded that you send “the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins.” Send your Spirit, I pray, into my dark sinful heart so that I taste your love wrapped in forgiveness. Pardon me, Lord, so that I may be purified and thus become capable of loving you purely and dearly. Brighten my eyes with your loveful light that I can see that you hate none. O Holy Spirit, put the fire in my memory store till all my prejudices are burnt into ashes.
Contemplation & Action
Forgiveness is a miraculous means through which God loves everyone. Know that your sins, as many as they are, are forgiven. Feel that you are loved by God. Believe that God covers your sins and defends you in public. Take a decision to live free from evil prejudices and judgments. Take a few moments to feel God’s love and love Him in return.