Mass Reading & Meditation for September 17, 2009
Meditation: Luke 7:36-50
As she wept at Jesus’ feet, bathed them with her tears, and anointed them, the woman in today’s Gospel reading shamelessly demonstrated her love for Jesus.
She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t fear rejection. Her actions overflowed from a conviction deep in her soul that Jesus loved her, and she wanted to return that love.
Why was this woman so confident in what Jesus thought of her? The answer is simple: She experienced his mercy! Surely she must have had some encounter with Jesus before this dramatic episode. Maybe she heard him preach or saw him healing the sick. Whatever it was, Jesus’ words and deeds moved her deeply, and she embraced his message of God’s overflowing mercy. It wasn’t that her repentance made God love her; rather, it opened her heart to the covenant love God had for her. She was transformed because she saw that Jesus had accepted her and was committed to her, no matter how dark her previous life had been.
This story can give us an image of how powerful the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be. We all know that sin puts up barriers between God and ourselves. It blocks our experience of the covenant love God has for us. But we also know that we can tear down these walls by bringing our faults and failings to Confession. That’s where the heavenly floodgates can open, releasing a shower of God’s grace. Confessing our sins and receiving God’s forgiveness really can transform us. Beyond feelings of warmth or happiness, this sacrament can give us the certainty of Jesus’ unflinching commitment to us as he takes us by the hand, calls us his brothers and sisters, and tells us that our sins are forgiven.
The next time you prepare for Confession, be expectant. As you confess your sins, imagine a wall being torn down brick by brick, unleashing the power of God’s covenant of love. As you hear the words of absolution, picture Jesus putting his arm around your shoulder and drawing you close to his side. You are forgiven, and you can go in peace. Jesus still loves you and rejoices to have you draw closer to him. Finally, as you walk away from the sacrament, know that Jesus is walking with you, telling all the angels and saints that you are his!
“Jesus, I am yours! I want to remove all obstacles of sin so that I will know your love.”
1 Timothy 4:12-16; ? Psalm 111:7-10