Thursday, September 17, 2020

 Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

 (I Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 7:36-50)

 The main attraction at the year 2000 World Youth Day in Toronto was, of course, Pope John Paul II.  Even at eighty, the saint was able to move people deeply.  During the event a young prostitute accompanied a youth group at a local parish to the pope’s mass.  There she heard the pope say to all the youth that he loved them.  The words changed the prostitute’s life.  Many men, she said, had told her before that they loved her but that this one meant it.  The story mirrors today’s gospel.

 In part the issue of the passage is the claim that Jesus is a prophet. Simon, the Pharisee, denies it because Jesus allows the woman to wash his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. But Jesus shows himself to be a prophet by reading the Pharisee’s mind.  Not only that, his being a prophet is confirmed by pronouncement of forgiveness.  Jesus says that her demonstration of love is a response to being forgiven of many sins.

 Jesus showed God’s great love for the world.  He did not seek pleasure or consolation.  He died on the cross as the supreme sacrifice that wins for us the forgiveness of sin.  We are both humbled and edified to consider -- like the Toronto prostitute – that he meant it when he showed his love for us.