DON’T SEPARATE ANYONE FROM JESUS
According to Luke’s story, a Pharisee named Simon is very interested in inviting Jesus to eat. Probably he wants to take advantage of a meal to debate some questions with that Galilean who’s getting famous as a prophet among the people. Jesus accepts the invitation: God’s Good News should get to everyone.
During the banquet, something happens that Simon hadn’t planned. A local prostitute interrupts the table talk, throws herself at Jesus’ feet and starts to cry. She doesn’t know how to thank him for the love that he’s shown toward people like her who go around branded with general scorn. To everyone’s surprise, she kisses Jesus’ feet over and over and anoints them with a precious perfume.
Simon watches the scene with horror. A sinful woman touching Jesus in his own house! That’s unheard of: the man is clueless, no prophet of God. He needs to get that impure woman away from Jesus right away.
However Jesus lets her touch him and lets himself be loved by the woman. She needs him more than anyone else there. With special tenderness he offers her God’s forgiveness, then invites her to discover within her heart a humble faith that is saving her. Jesus only wants her to live in peace: «Your sins are forgiven you…Your faith has saved you. Go in peace».
All four Gospels note Jesus’ welcome and understanding of the sectors that are most excluded by almost everyone from God’s blessing: prostitutes, tax-collectors, lepers… His message is scandalous: those who are despised by the most religious people have a privileged place in God’s heart. The reason for this is simple: they are those most in need of welcoming, dignity and love.
Someday we need to revise, in light of this way of being of Jesus, what is our attitude in our Christian communities in the face of certain groups like women who live in prostitution or homosexuals and lesbians whose problems, sufferings and struggles we almost always choose to ignore and silence in the bosom of the Church as if they don’t exist for us.
The questions we could ask ourselves are many:
- Where among us can they find a welcome like they find with Jesus?
- Who can hear one word that God is speaking to them as Jesus spoke?
- What help can they find among us for living their sexual condition with a responsible and believing attitude?
- With whom can they share their faith in Jesus with peace and dignity?
- Who is capable of seeing the deep love of God for those forgotten by every religion?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf