Dear friends in Christ
In his Gospel, St Luke gives us many examples of the teachings of Jesus on mercy; so relevant for this extra-ordinary Holy Year that we are in. The Gospel of this Sunday recounts the moment when a women of ill-repute came in to the house where Jesus was the guest of a leading Pharisee; she lavished signs of her atoning love upon the feet of Our Lord. A canvas of Peter Paul Rubens illustrates the pathos of this moment with touching effect. She was not interested in what those around her were saying; she wanted only to encounter Jesus; she wished to express her sorrow in a tangible way. In a word, she was seeking peace of soul. There is peace only with true and deep contrition. At the end of Confession the priest says to us: Go in peace your sins are forgiven. Faith and humility saved that women; with contrition she began a new life. St Gregory the Great says: The woman represents us when, after having committed a sin, we turn back to God with all our heart and imitate her in our cries of penance. Contrition makes us forget ourselves and return to God through a deep act of love. Contrition is also a sign of the depths of our love and calls down God’s mercy upon us. All our sins and defects may indeed weigh heavily upon us, but with true love-sorrow we are renewed and refashioned as the children that God desires us to be. May we never tire of seeking this mercy of God, never tire of receiving it, and above all never tire of being merciful ourselves, like Jesus. May God bless you!
Msgr Kevin Hale