Her many sins were forgiven her, because she has shown great love.
sinful woman has proclaimed to us that God's love has gone
forth in search of sinners. For when he called her, Christ
was inviting our whole race to love; and in her person he
was drawing all sinners to his forgiveness.
He spoke to her
alone, but he was drawing all creation to his grace.
else persuaded him to help her come to forgiveness; only
his love for the one he himself had formed persuaded him
to do this, and his own grace besought him on behalf of the
work of his hands.
Who would not be struck by the mercy of Christ, who accepted
an invitation to a Pharisee's house in order to save a sinner!
the sake of the woman who hungered for forgiveness, he himself
felt hunger for the table of Simon the Pharisee; and
all the while, under the guise of a meal of bread, he had prepared
for the sinner a meal of repentance!
The shepherd came down from heaven for the lost sheep, to catch
in Simon's house the woman the cunning wolf had carried off.
In the house of Simon the Pharisee he found the one he sought.
Seeing Jesus' feet, the sinner took them to be a symbol of
his incarnation, and in grasping them believed herself to be
grasping her God on the level of his corporal nature.
words she besought him as her Creator—for clearly her words,
though not written down, may be guessed at from her actions.
She must surely have uttered words corresponding to her deeds
when she bathed his feet with her tears, wiped them with her
hair, and poured precious ointment over them.
It was a prayer
that she offered to the incarnate God: by bringing him her
humility she showed her trust in him, and by the conversation
they had with one another she proved him to be truly man.
Such then were the words addressed to Jesus by the sinner when
she clasped his feet. He listened to them patiently, his silence
proclaiming his steadfastness, his patience proclaiming his
By his kindness he showed his approval of her boldness.
He made it obvious that it was right for her to wrest pardon
from him in the presence of all the guests.
He did not speak
at once and when he spoke he uttered only one word, but by
that word he destroyed sins, abolished faults, chased away
iniquity, granted pardon, uprooted evil, and made righteousness
All at once his forgiveness appeared within her soul and
chased out of it the darkness of sin; she was cured, she recovered
her wits, and gained both health and strength.
For when Jesus
gives graces he gives them lavishly, as he easily can, being
the God of all things.
In order that you may have the same experience, reflect within
yourself that your sin is great, but that it is blasphemy against
God and damage to yourself to despair of his forgiveness because
your sin seems to you to be too great.
He has promised to forgive
your sins, however many they are; will you tell him you cannot
believe this and dispute with him, saying that your sin is
too great; he cannot heal your sickness?
Stop at this point,
and cry out with the prophet, “Lord, I have sinned against
you.” At once he will reply, “As for me, I have overlooked your
fault: you shall not die.” Glory to him from all of us,
for all the ages. Amen.
Syrien 7, 1962: 180-181,189,193,194)