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.” Luke 7:36-50
Today we celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. Mark was 23 and I was 19. We have never understood ourselves to be the perfect couple, the most likely to succeed, or those who make the celebrity pages of the magazines. We never tried to be that it couple or do things "right". We are simply those kind of people who have tried to love well, and forgive always. We have tried to demonstrate and live love large. We never tried to be anything but ourselves, honest about our frailties, our quirks and our great joys. We welcomed three girls into the world, and they were and are our hearts' desire. And they too love well and completely. We are grateful in everything because we have been blessed beyond measure in love.
A woman of the city anoints Jesus. She pours our her precious oil and her love in the sight of the religious leaders. They ache to be perfect, while she aches for love and healing. She is perfect in her love and humanity, and they are still puzzled in their need to be right. God invites us to be like the woman, fully human, fully loving and completely grateful for the love we receive.
Today, I ask God to live every moment in gratitude and thanksgiving for the love I have received. May we observe the good gifts that love has brought us today and forget being perfect or right so that we can be forgiven and free.