June 12, 2016

Luke 7:36-50 “God is Merciful” A woman like the one in today’s Gospel story invites us to use our imaginations. We might imagine what she has done to earn such a bad reputation. Maybe she is a prostitute. Maybe she is a thief. Maybe she is considered to be a traitor to her Jewish neighbours, cooperating with the Roman occupiers. Maybe she is the daughter or wife of a tax collector. We might also imagine the woman’s name. Perhaps Jezebel – a Hebrew name meaning “one who is not noble.” Or maybe her name is Lilith, meaning “woman of the night.” Or it could be Mariana – “rebellious woman.” But what if, instead of imagining the woman’s many sins, we imagined the moment when she was forgiven. I am remembering another story in which an unnamed woman is about to be stoned for adultery. Jesus tells her accusers to go ahead – “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” I wonder… was this that same woman, forgiven and set free to go and sin no more? Or maybe she was just one of the prostitutes with whom Jesus shared a meal when he was passing through her village. After all, Jesus’ enemies often accused him of eating with tax collectors and other sinners. We can only guess at the circumstances that led her into such an occupation, but likely she struggled with poverty, perhaps homelessness, or just a bad reputation … Read more »