Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday June 12, 2016
Lectionary: 93

A Reading from the Gospel according to Luke
Lk 7:36 – 8:3

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table.
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 him 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.
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."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"Simon, I have something to say to you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
"Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?"
Simon said in reply,
"The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven."
He said to him, "You have judged rightly."

Then he 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.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven
because she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."
He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
The others at table said to themselves,
"Who is this who even forgives sins?"
But he said to the woman,
"Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others who provided for them
out of their resources.

Salesian Sunday Reflection
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Francis de Sales, the “doctor of love,” had his own perspectives on judgment. Specifically, he cautioned against rash judgment. He observed: "Fear, ambition, and similar mental weaknesses often contribute to the birth of suspicion and rash judgment" when it comes to our perspectives of other people.

He continued: People “who have drunk in pride, envy, ambition, and hatred think that everything they see is evil and reprehensible. To be cured...I say, drink as deeply as you can of the sacred wine of charity. The sin of rash judgment is truly a spiritual jaundice that causes all things to appear evil to the eyes of those infected with it.”

Put another way, judgment is ultimately in the eye -- or the heart -- of the beholder. “If your reflections are kind,” remarked Francis, “your judgments will also be kind. If your affections are charitable, your judgments will be the same.”

Obviously, if our affections are neither kind nor charitable, our judgments of other people will be, at best, unkind and uncharitable. Such a practice is incompatible with anyone who is trying to be a “new creation” in Christ. Such is the attitude of the Pharisee in today’s Gospel: in addition to condemning a sinful woman, he is clearly trying to justify himself as well as the expense of another.

We know from our own experience that it is all too easy to waste our time judging the motives and intentions of other people. If this weren't bad enough, we seldom keep such opinions to ourselves, but often share such judgments with third parties, leading to “uneasiness, contempt of neighbor, pride, self-satisfaction, and many other bad effects, chief among them being slander.”

Perhaps Francis de Sales really put his finger on the issue and summed it up when he wrote: “It is the mark of an unprofitable soul to amuse itself with examining the lives of other people.” The old ways of looking at other in terms of mere human judgment have passed away: what are we doing to keep it that way?

Besides, on any given day, we probably have more than enough to do when it comes to examining our own lives, don’t we? Why spin our wheels, then, by dissecting the lives of others for our own amusement…and to our own shame?