Your Sins Are Forgiven

There is a saying that goes, “We seldom see things the way they are, rather we see things the way we are“
woman hair
Our contexts, our cultures, our histories with certain people groups, our preferences, are all filters which determine what we see when we see something or someone. Labeling and prejudice can be a way of life.
 
Is this what is happening in our Gospel today?
 
Simon the Pharisee, is focused on the externals. “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.” His focus on externals prevents him from meeting the person behind his label.
 
The anonymous woman, is focused on her deep need for unconditional acceptance. “She stood behind him at his feet,weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair” Her need overwhelms her awareness of propriety and place.
 
Jesus with the wealth of wisdom coming from a contemplatively integrated heart, sees both and his response to Simon and the woman is absolutely need specific and thus appropriate to each individual.
 
Jesus’ response:
>Seeing the need not the label
>Responding with compassion and not prejudice
>Putting care above convention
>Being able to hold opposing energies in one room and minister to people on each side. (Simon and the Woman)

 
The gospel reading ends with a list of interesting women who followed Jesus on the way. Looking deeply at this encounter in Simon’s house, I can understand why they did.
 
Perhaps one way to live this Gospel would be to sit down and make a list of all the good God has given us. Then take some time to utter a prayer of thanks to this God who is merciful and gracious to us. This God who loves us even when we sin.
 
 
 


Need a Lift?

God always heals. God always heals. God always heals. Today’s Gospel is a graphic illustration of that principle. What a scene we have today in the gospel. It is amazing. It turns everything upside down. Jesus was teaching the crowd. Jesus was teaching something new. People were excited. They wanted to learn. They packed the place. And Jesus taught them.

There were five friends. One of them was paralyzed. They had heard about Jesus. He could cure people. They started for Jesus. They couldn’t get to Jesus. The room was full. They couldn’t get to Jesus. They still wanted something for their friend. What did they do? They refused to take impossible for an answer. Think about that. There was no way they could get their friend to Jesus. There were too many people in the way.

 

They didn’t care about the obstacles. They wanted to get to Jesus. No one was at the side of the building. They went there. From there to the roof. Still no way to Jesus. And so they made a way.

 

Jesus looked up. He saw their faith. He saw their need for their friend to be healed. And so he looked at the man. He said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

 

The paralyzed man was healed. His sins were forgiven. Why? The faith of his friends.

 

So where is healing needed? In our relationship with God? In our relationship with love? In our relationships with each other that will last for eternity?

 

Whether we are broken in body or burdened by sin, Jesus heals and forgives. We have only to come.

 

The four men acted in this gospel to bring the paralytic to Jesus. They were hardly narrow-minded – they had hope and expectations that Jesus would do for their friend what he had done for so many others. This kind of faith demands dying to self. We must die to excuses for why we are powerless to act, to paralysis in face of obstacles to forgiveness, to our stubborn view of how things should be.

 

The healings touch the deepest part of our woundedness. Jesus brings wholeness and offers integrity of life.