The Gospel reading for this past Sunday came from Luke Chapter 7 and it told the story of the woman waking Jesus' feet with her tears and anointing them with costly perfume. Jesus' host was outraged, that he let her touch him but Jesus rebukes him by reminding him that although he had welcomed him to his table he had not in fact ensured that his guests were well treated. In my commentary on that piece I wrote:
Personally, I think that this is one of the most tender and beautiful example of Jesus’ love for all of us that we have in the New Testament. This woman of no good repute has snuck into the house of Simon the Pharisee in order to see Jesus. She has heard his teaching and has been moved to pour out her sins at his feet in a loving act of self-giving. No clean living person would have dreamt of touching the dirty, dusty feet of anyone. That was beneath them and that is what slaves are for. This woman is obviously not a slave but she recognises that she is a sinner and wishes to repent in a public way.
Jesus is tender towards the woman and accepts her ministrations, despite the fact that he knows he is breaking ‘The Law’ by allowing such a woman to touch him. He is grateful to her and thanks her and in doing so forgives her, her many sins. He also rebukes Simon for his hard heartedness and the fact that he did not ensure that his guests were treated properly in the first place - he should have had feet washing things available before the meal as a way of welcoming his guests. Jesus, also reminds Simon, that we all have sins that we need to repent of no matter how great or how small. Simon is rebuked for his arrogance, the woman is commended for her humility.
Simon must have felt rather embarrassed by Jesus’ rebuke but all those at table would have learned a valuable lesson; in that you do not judge another before you judge yourself. How easy it is to see the sins of others without seeing our own sins?
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