Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, September 16
We Are Called to Find within Ourselves a True Love for Our God, Longing to Feel His Love in Our Lives, Longing to Receive His Forgiveness and His Mercy, and Truly Living That Same Love in Our Relationship with Others.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it.” – the first part of the final verse which we read from today’s Responsorial Psalm, yet it is a truth which lies at the very heart of our life of faith.
The concept of “fear of the Lord” is not one of dread or trepidation, but rather it is a relationship of reverence and adoration which one should have for his or her God.
“Fear of the Lord” is spoken of many times throughout the Bible. The Book of Sirach tells us that “The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD.” In the Book of Proverbs, it tells us that “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death.”
For each of us, as a Christian people, “fear of the Lord” is focusing one’s life on what is truly most important – a personal and loving relationship with Jesus Christ.
In our First Reading today, Paul is advising Timothy to be absorbed in his life of faith, in his relationship with Jesus Christ, in order that he may, as Saint Paul writes, “…set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”
As parents and grandparents, do we not try to do the same? Do we not try to set a proper example by the life we live and the faith which we profess? Even though this Letter was written to Timothy, it is also a Letter which applies to each of us, when he writes, “Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them…”
The example that Paul was asking Timothy to set for others is a far cry different than the example we find from the Pharisee in today’s Gospel. Simon the Pharisee was apparently a man who was not able to see “the forest through the trees”, as the old adage goes.
He was a man who seemed to be governed by self-righteousness rather than an understanding and compassionate heart. He was a man who seemed more concerned with outward appearances rather than the internal spirit within the heart and soul of an individual.
Yet, it was the “sinful woman”, whom we read about in our Gospel, who truly felt the “fear of the Lord” in her heart. In her great love, she lived the virtue of true humility by attending to the feet of Jesus, washing them with her tears, drying them with her hair, and anointing them with ointment.
In her heart, she was filled with a love which Simon, the Pharisee, could neither understand nor express. In the example which she demonstrates to each of us, her “many sins” were forgiven due to the “great love” which she has shown.
In this moment, frozen in time for all future generations of faithful to study and learn, our Lord breaks open for us the very Heart of God Itself! – teaching us of the Loving Compassion and Mercy which God has for anyone who reaches out to Him in complete humility – no matter how broken that person may be, surrendering him or herself to the graciousness of a God who only wishes to embrace us with His Divine and Eternal Love!
And Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, once wrote in her Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, “Mercy is the flower of love. God is Love, and Mercy is His deed. In love it is conceived; in mercy it is revealed.”
For Simon in today’s Gospel, however, due to the coldness which filled his heart and the disdain which he felt regarding this woman, “little is forgiven” for him because he “loves little.”
In the person of Simon, we find much of what is wrong in our society and in many of our world’s cultures today. For the sake of outward appearances and social acceptance, the hearts of many seem to be aloof and indifferent to the poor and the truly needy, to the downtrodden in today’s society, who are increasing at an alarming rate.
Also, the effects of greed and selfishness in many people oftentimes marginalizes the less fortunate, and leaves many suffering in a world which becomes more and more devoid of truly selfless love, especially when we consider all that is occurring in the world today, wherein the hearts of so many of God’s children are filled with a mindless evil and a godless hatred!
However, in the person of the “sinful woman”, we find true humility, and a truly selfless giving of herself out of a heartfelt love which comes from the very depths of her innermost being.
Within this woman and the example she gave, we should find ourselves, filled with a true love for our God – longing to feel His Love in our lives, longing to receive His Forgiveness and His Mercy, and truly living that same Love in our relationship with others.
Saint Augustine once said, “The measure of love is to love without measure.” It is the example of love, which this woman sets for each of us, which should become our own measure that we show towards others.
May the “fear of the Lord” and our own personal relationship which we live with our God, and the love we show for others, fill our hearts with a true humility and a selflessness which will allow us one day to hear our Lord say to each of us, as He says to the woman in today’s Gospel, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who practice it.” (Psalm 111:10ab)
- “The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb.” (Sirach 1:12)
- “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27)
- “…set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity…Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them…” (1 Timothy 4:12b, 15a)
- “Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.” (Psalm 51:3-4)
- “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1)
- “Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind [Jesus] at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:37-38)
- “When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.’” (Luke 7:39)
- “…[Jesus] turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment.’” (Luke 7:44-46)
- “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
- “Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven…Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself, yet seek pardon for one’s own sins?” (Sirach 28:2, 4)
- “For…judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy.” (James 2:13)
- “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (John 13:34b)
- “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “…[Jesus] said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” (Luke 7:50)
Prayer for the Day
“Eternal God,Saint Augustine of Hippo
Who are the Light of the minds that know You,
the Joy of the hearts that love You,
and the Strength of the wills that serve You.
“Grant us so to know You, that we may truly love You,
and so to love You that we may fully serve You,
Whom to serve is perfect freedom,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”