Gospel: Luke 7:36-50 The Woman Who Crashed the Party
“Simon, the Pharisee, threw a dinner for Jesus and other invited guests.” Was there ever a party or game you wanted to attend but you didn’t get an invitation? How did that make you feel? Often a special group of popular people is invited and others are left out.
Jesus flips the script and shows us that God’s invitation is not exclusive. A sinful woman crashes the dinner because she yearned for God’s forgiveness and needed to come to Jesus. Her need to be reconciled to God was greater than her fear of derision. She left the party with Jesus’ assurance: “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you: go in peace.” The story is told so that we may emulate the zeal of this woman. We sometimes do not go to God because we feel unworthy. No matter how people regard us, we must remember that God considers us worthy to be on God’s guest list! And God never lets us leave his presence without giving us all we need to love and serve God and our fellow human beings. Make those you come in contact with, realize God’s love for them.” The African American Catholic Youth Bible page 1539
For the past few days I have been praying with this scripture and remembering important childhood memories, “life lessons” I call them. My grandparents were people of great faith, hope, love, wisdom, courage and peace. I’m sure that it is one of the reasons that my favorite mantra is “Amazing Peace.” One lesson from my grandfather was that when you encounter another person for a conversation always look that individual directly into their eyes, regardless of who they are. This was important for him as a southern black man, as it reminded him and others that; “just as I am in the image of God, so are you too.” To give dignity to another and to forgive another who has wronged you can be overwhelming but that is what we are called to do. Everyone was always invited to my grandfather’s table for dinner; just as all of us are invited to the table of the Lord.
Lessons from my grandmother were taught to me up until she left this earth at age 98. My grandmother’s name was “Irene,” and “Irene means peace and she truly lived her life as a woman of peace and forgiveness. There is a wonderful spiritual that my grandmother used to sing in the choir, called “Come to Jesus,” here are just a few of the lyrics: “Come to Jesus, Come to Jesus, right now, right now, he will save you, he will save you right now…” Just as the woman who came with faith and courage as an uninvited guest to see Jesus, we too, can come to Jesus with opens hearts knowing that we can be healed and forgiven of our sins.