THE SACRAMENT OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS
The core of the good news that Paul brings to the Corinthians is the resurrection of Jesus. Paul insists, because Greeks do not easily accept this truth. For Christians the resurrection means life more than a dogma; it means hope and a great future.
A woman with a bad reputation, which she apparently deserved, comes to Jesus and shows in a rather extravagant way that something in her cries out for a purer kind of love than she had experienced in life. Her encounter with Jesus in faith and love led to forgiveness, to the scandal of the good practicing people. For us too, Jesus’ encounter with us is always forgiving. Let us hurry to him in the Sacraments of his forgiveness.
Patient and loving Father,
you sent Jesus your Son among us
to heal what is broken and wounded.
He touched us with his goodness
and did not break the crushed reed.
Forgive us our sins,
let your Spirit continue in us
the work of conversion
and make us patient and understanding
with those who love us and those who fail us.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
1 Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. For I am the least of the Apostles, not fit to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me. Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Responsorial Psalm 118:1B-2, 16AB-17, 28
R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.” R.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD. R.
You are my God, and I give thanks to you;
O my God, I extol you. R.
Alleluia Matthew 11:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Luke 7:36-50
A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Paul today recalls the kerygma or basic teaching of the church in which the Corinthians have been instructed. What is our core belief? What is the fundamental word that has been preached? That Christ died for our sins and was buried. That he rose on the third day and appeared to Peter, the Twelve, James, and the other apostles, and finally to Paul. It was on the basis of the acceptance of these basic truths that baptism was administered. Only after baptism was there further instruction in the teaching (didache) of Jesus. It is good for all of us from time to time to return to the fundamentals of faith. No other doctrine supersedes these.
Paul is reminded of his own unworthiness. He had persecuted the followers of Jesus. But he recognizes that the grace of God in life has not been in vain. He has not been ineffective, and this not due to his own merit. It is the grace that he has received that has been operative. His preaching and his audience’s reception of the preaching has been realised through the goodness of God.
Paul is enthusiastic about his conversion. The sinful woman of today’s Gospel performed her act of love because she was deeply grateful. Like Paul, she received same grace of God. We too have received the gracious Word and have been forgiven all our failings. He died to bring us home. Do allow his grace to act in your life.
– That the community of God’s people may be a source of peace, of forgiveness and reconciliation, of new opportunities for tomorrow, we pray:
– That we may be gentle in our judgment of others, aware that every day anew we too are we in need of forgiveness, we pray:
– That in our families and communities we may be attentive to the good that is done and not be discouraged by each other’s shortcomings, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Our God and Father,
you have invited us to encounter your Son
and to offer with him the sacrifice
that forgives our sins.
Dispose us to forgive others
as you forgive us
and to share at the table of your Son
the bread of unity and reconciliation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
in this Eucharist your Son Jesus said to us too:
your sins are forgiven
and he ate with us the meal
that brings reconciliation.
May all this deepen our love for you
and dispose us to extend a hand of peace
to all those who have hurt us
and to those we have wounded.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen!
The words of Jesus have been spoken to us too, “Your sins are forgiven.” May it be said of us too that we show great love, both of God and of people. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!