© 2010 Vincentians Ireland
Provincial Office, St Pauls
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The Parable of the Sower
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
New International Version (NIV)
What’s in a Name?
What do you think of your Christian name? Do you like it, or would you prefer another one? When I was christened I was given the name, Patrick, but as long as I can remember I have been called Pat. I didn’t particularly like that shortened version of my name when I was younger. It was very common, it didn’t sound impressive, and there were many girls who were also called Pat! However, in adulthood my attitude changed. Nowadays I like my name because it is typically Irish; I admire St Patrick very much, and the word itself is flattering in so far as it is derived from Latin, patricius, meaning “noble one”!
Wouldn’t it be true to say that our Christian names are intimately associated with our personal sense of identity. There are many people who address me by name. They may think they know me well, but what they probably don’t realize is the fact that, I have never revealed my deepest self to them. But the people who love me, such as family members, and close friends know me much better. Besides being acquainted the outer me, that others see, they know my true, hidden self as well. It is only when someone who really loves me speaks my name with affection, appreciation, acceptance and understanding, that I am enabled to know and esteem myself in the light of that loving relationship. As two lines from The Old Bog Road, enquire, “what’s the world to any man if no one calls his name.” Surely the answer is, “bleak, lonely and intimidating.”
The Gospels indicate that Mary Magdalene would have appreciated the point I have been making. She was among the “many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him” Mt. 27:55. She has sometimes mistakenly been described as a woman of bad character and loose morals. Here isn’t any reason to think that she was the same person as the sinful woman whom Simon the Pharisee treated with such contempt in Lk 7:36–50. Mary was one of the women at Calvary who were “looking on from afar” Mk 15:40, when Jesus died on the cross. She was also at the tomb when the body of Jesus was wrapped in a linen cloth and a large stone was placed at the entrance.
On Easter Sunday morning, Mary was, not only the first person to witness the empty tomb, she was also the first to meet the risen Jesus. John tells as what happened in the garden:\"Woman,\" he said, \"why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?\" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, \"Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.\" Jesus said to her, \"Mary.\" She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, \"Rabboni!\" (which means Teacher)” Jn 20:15-16.
Like many of the other disciples, Mary didn’t recognize the risen Lord, either because he was the last person she expected to meet, or because his appearance had changed in some mysterious way. But as soon as he uttered her name, Mary immediately knew who he was. Only He could utter her name, in such a way as to reach her innermost identity, in such an intimate, knowing and affirming way. In the light of his love, she knew who she was, and all manner of things were well. It was a clear case of the sheep knowing the shepherd’s voice. For your part, why not imagine, in prayer, that you too hear the risen Jesus addressing you by name.