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.
 
 
 

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