THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE DEED
Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest, and Paul Chong Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Scripture Readings: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Psalm 118:1b-2, 16ab-17, 28; Luke 7:36-50
My dear encountered couples:
Why did the Pharisee invite Jesus to his house for dinner? We could speculate on that. But it seems it wasn’t because he was an admirer of Jesus. If he were why didn’t he show Jesus the basic social courtesies of welcome? It was customary in those days to provide water for washing a visitor’s feet - they wore sandals and the roads were either dusty or muddy. It was also the custom to give a friendly kiss on the cheek in welcome. We are told the Pharisee did neither of those for Jesus.
The woman “known in the town to be a sinner” somehow crashed the party and outdid herself in honoring Jesus. And being able to see the motive behind the act, Jesus praised the woman for her kindness and concern. Basically, Jesus knew the woman did what she did out of love, and that the Pharisee did not do what he should have done because of the absence of love.
We do many things – many good things. The reason we do them is very important. Do we do them because we are expected to do them? Do we do them because we want to put on our best appearance? Do we do them because it would bother our conscience if we don’t do them? Or do we do them out of faith and love?
The Pharisee could have provided the water and given the kiss, but we are given the impression that if he had it would not have been from love. “Her many sins are forgiven because of her great love,” Jesus told the Pharisee. “Little is forgiven the one whose love is small.” And then to the woman he said, “Your faith has been your salvation.”
May all we do be done with faith and love. If not, maybe we are wasting our time and fooling ourselves as did the Pharisee. We are certainly not fooling Jesus.