Lk 7: 36 – 50
Christ, you consume with a glance my entire being and with that same glance your presence enters those who are around me, and whom I love. Thanks to you I am united with them, as in a divine milieu, and I can act upon them with all the resources of your and my being. (Tielhard de Chardin)
Please go to today’s reading. I advise you to read it several times. As you read, try to find the core teaching that this story holds for you. Perhaps each one of us will be touched in a different way. This is the wonder of the Word of God. “God speaks to us when we read the divine texts. We pray when we respond to the message that God has for us.” (Vatican II)
Read and re-read the text. “The first lesson, insight, that we receive from a text is almost certainly not the message that God wants to give us.” With these thoughts in mind you can now start your reading.
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41”Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. 42Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave the debt for both.
Forgiveness for all is a familiar theme in Luke’s Gospel. The woman who gate crashed the dinner party was a sinner. However, Simon also had his faults. His invitation to Jesus was most insincere. He repeatedly insulted Jesus by the way he neglected to offer Jesus the basic greetings – a kiss, feet washing and anointing.
Recall the parable of the Prodigal Son, sometimes called the parable of the Forgiving Father.We could also entitle it, “The Two Lost Sons” and certainly both of them were forgiven. Then there is the parable of the “Two men who went up to the temple to pray”, one a Pharisee the other a tax collector. Two very different characters, both needing repentance and forgiveness. (Lk 18: 14)
Something similar took place on Calvary. The story of the “Good Thief” is unique to Luke. Let’s read this incident . (Lk 23: 32 – 34)
“32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed 33When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right , the other on his left. 34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
These words, I think, included:
the two thieves;
the soldiers, the mocking crowd and the disciple who had abandoned him in Gethsemane;
and “.. all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.” (Lk 23: 49)
Let’s take a moment to reflect on each of the stories we have mentioned.
The Pharisee and the Sinful Woman.
The Two lost Sons.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
On Calvary; the two thieves.
Each pair is made up of two sinners, one with overwhelming guilt, the other, with much less to repent about. Both are in need of repentance and forgiveness. One, is well aware of their shortcomings the other feels secure in their self-righteousness.
Luke leaves us in no doubt that that forgiveness is open to all, even before they realise their need, even before they ask for it. Our God is an understanding and forgiving God. Jesus deals with all, gently and firmly. Neither is leading fully life-giving lives. Our God wants what is best for us, and sin, big or small, is not good for any us.
Is it any wonder that Luke’s Gospel closes with, “ that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations.” (Lk 24: 47)
Here is further food for thought.
“Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own.” (Lk 6: 41)
Time now to reflect. Go back to all these stories. Where do you find yourself and how do you find God responding to you?