Thursday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

Thursday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

September 17, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, PA

Memorial Feast:  Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-+1621) – Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Patron Saint of Canonists

First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 15:1-11

Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 28

Luke 7:36-50

 

The story in today’s Gospel narrative is a familiar one.  Jesus is invited to a dinner party and a woman provides a service that His host had failed to offer.  The other guests at the party were scandalized because the woman was considered by them to be a “sinner.”  Our Lord should have known!  He responds first by pointing out His host’s lapse, and then by telling a little parable about two individuals and forgiving debts, one small and one large, and asks His host which would be more loving.  The host correctly answers that the one forgiven the most would likely be the most grateful and loving.  Jesus then tells the assembled guests that the woman’s sins have been forgiven.  The guests are shocked and wonder how Jesus could presume to forgive sins.  Only God can forgive sins!.  However, the story doesn’t say that Jesus did the forgiving, and the parable that He told made it clear that the forgiveness preceded the woman’s gratitude.  Our Lord tells His fellow guests that He could tell that the woman had been forgiven by virtue of the loving service she provided.  She couldn’t have done it had she not already accepted God’s forgiveness.

Friends, many of us are locked into a quid pro quo mentality that we naturally think, as did the guests at the dinner, that Jesus forgave her because of her good deed.  That is not what this Gospel tells us, and it is quite clear from other sources that God doesn’t work that way.  We can’t earn God’s favor.  God requires no quid pro quo.  God forgives first and asks the forgiven one to accept that forgiveness.  When one finally realizes that he or she has been forgiven and does accept that forgiveness, then loving action follows.  We notice that in the question Jesus posed His host.  He didn’t ask who would be more grateful, but who would be the more loving.  If we can’t bring ourselves to such loving action, maybe it is because we haven’t really accepted God’s offer for forgiveness.

As Saint Luke makes clear, especially in the narrative surrounding the story of Jesus’ Conception and Birth, the purpose of the disciple is to hear, accept and act.  Hear the Word (forgiveness in this case,) accept it, and act on it. 

Question of the Day:  How will you tell everyone the good News that forgiving and living is a continuous act of self-giving?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, take away from me anything that hinders my spiritual growth?

Prosit

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