Forgiveness

Reflection on the Gospel for the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

I was deeply struck by the audacity of the woman in today’s Gospel and found myself asking how did she come by such inner freedom? What inner force made it possible for her to act so spontaneously and uninhibitedly? Perhaps I am way out, but I venture to say this was not her first encounter with Jesus. This is not a chance meeting. She is deliberately going to Simon’s house because Jesus is there and she brings ointment with her because she knows what she wants to do when she gets there. This woman knew who she was going to and was sure of the response she would receive because she had already been a recipient of Jesus love and knew herself to be loved and forgiven.  She knew that Jesus was aware of the purity and sincerity of her love for him. At some time this woman of ill repute, very familiar with all that can masquerade as love and it many caricatures, had recognised the real thing when she encountered it in Jesus and it had changed her. Now she really is in love and knows herself to be loved perhaps for the first time.A woman whose self image was so poor that she allowed herself to be used to gratify others is suddenly sure of herself and is undaunted in the presence of men who belittle and despise her. This is the power love has. When we know we are loved fear falls away. Instead her sole focus is on Jesus. She has heard he is here at Simon’s house and she arrives complete with ointment with only one thought in mind to minister to her beloved.  With total disregard to […]

5th Sunday in Lent – Year C

Gospel: John 8: 1-11As this morning’s Gospel concerns judging others I was attracted to spending extra time with it during the week in the hope that it would help me with my failings in this area. In the course of the Gospel the Pharisees and Scribes, who are sinners like the rest of us, accuse this poor woman of her specific sin in front of Jesus and all those present.Jesus, with great wisdom, compassion and courtesy bends down to write on the ground, thus avoiding embarrassing the poor woman by staring at her and later, even avoiding embarrassing the Pharisees and Scribes as they leave one by one admitting their own guilt as sinners themselves when responding to the words of Jesus – “if there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Even as Jesus pronounces the following beautiful words of forgiveness and freedom to the woman “Neither do I condemn you, go away and don’t sin any more,” he looks up at her from his stooped position of humility, reminding me of the Gospel text spoken by  Jesus, “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your soul” (Mt 11:29).He saves this poor woman from both physical and spiritual death in an instant. This Gospel teaches me that in the light of Jesus’ own silent suffering for all of us during his passion and horrific death on the cross, that every accusation by one of us against another has to fall silent for as the text in Romans says “ God has imprisoned all people in their disobedience – not to punish […]

Stay at a Sinner’s House

CCC 1127: “… As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so theHoly Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to its power.”2 Thess 1:11-12“We pray continually that God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”We are tempted at every moment to do without God, as though it were a sign of weakness that we should be creatures who have need of others and of God to be happy, and to come to be the fullness of what we have been given life to grow to be. In all our wandering, in all our encounters with others, in all that we achieve and acquire however, there is always something lacking – a little emptiness, a little loneliness, a little missing. But we are ones who were, and who constantly strive to be – open to the touch of God. All of us who were baptised into the divine life of the Blessed Trinity, have been given this grace, if we would but receive it, welcome it joyfully. When I realise that only God can fill the emptiness, that not the deepest most intimate human love can understand – when this I see, then He will come – He does come – in fact, He is there already.We are all of us like Zacchaeus – ‘too short’ in our own sight, yet … wanting to come out of ourselves, […]

By |October 31st, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

Making a Home

If anyone loves me he will keep my wordand my Father will love himand we shall come to himand make our home with him(Jn 14:23) These words from the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Easter Cycle C and which were spoken by Jesus on the night before He suffered and died, remind us of the wonderful mystery of the indwelling of God -imagine God desiring to come and make His home in us His often sinful and disobedient children! Reflecting on this theme of ‘making a home’ gives us with an opportunity to introduce you to our feathered friends in our cloister garth – In the Spring of 2008 when the dawn chorus was ushered in with a magnificent Alleluia, the tits and the robins, the thrushes and the blackbirds, and all the other feathered folk put on a wonderful show, each trying to outdo the other in praising their Creator, and filling us all with joy.One day along came two wagtails who made a thorough survey of our small cloister garth — was it a safe place? — would their little ones be made welcome? Apparently we passed the test—and Lua and Louis came to stay. As we watched them building their new home it was both comical and touching to see them carrying bits of twigs and straw to the feet of St Dominic, and especially towards the end bringing soft down to line the nest. It was fun too to see the father bringing food to his ‘lady love’ sitting on the nest.As the time drew near for the little ones to be hatched out, our anticipation and excitement grew until the great day came when the shells were […]