One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, 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." Jesus spoke up and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Teacher," he replied, "Speak." "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt." And Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. Luke 7:36-8:3
I started writing this blog years ago. It has been a joy for me to reflect daily on the scriptures. At first it was a difficult discipline. It has now become an essential part of my daily life and devotion. I titled this blog Mamabishop for several reasons. I am blessed to be a bishop and a mother of three wonderful daughters. I also was told the story of the first time women were at Lambeth in 1998. They were shouted at regularly, " Mama, go home and take care of your babies!" We women who have been called to serve God also labor to serve our families and our communities.
Today's Gospel tells the story of the woman who anointed Jesus. She embodies hospitality and welcome, all the gifts that were lacking at the religious leader's home. She loved God from her heart and soul and offered her best to God. Her forgiveness and God's blessing were never in question. The passage concludes with the names of some of the women that also accompanied Jesus, and who served with him. It says they provided for the whole group out of their resources. These first women lived lives of sacrifice and offering. They lived to serve God with gratitude. We are invited to see those who would serve God, not through the lens of race, culture and gender, but by the heart of the matter. If their love of God and the people shines through, then they are servants of a living God.
Today, I ask God to help me live every moment in gratitude and service. May we who have been blessed to be called by God and the people never relent in offering our best to God and the whole community. May we never be ashamed to be misunderstood. May we give God all that we have, as the woman did Jesus, so that our love and joy might reflect the love of God.
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.