Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday word, 12 Jun 16

Getting Out
Eleventh Sunday of the Year B (12 Jun 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Credit cards can be devastating. For some they pave the way into debt-ruining lives. Debt scares for it can spell the end: of ownership; of connection with one’s homestead; of trust in the world of commerce.

Debt has dogged humans from our beginning. For Jesus and ancient Mediterraneans debt often was disastrous. Those with slender means were ever near debt. Many who fell into debt worked for others who controlled land once theirs. Ancestral land meant nearly everything. If their indebtedness deepened they could be driven from their ancestral land.
Being in debt allowed people to appreciate not being right with God—sinfulness. Forgiveness of debt allow-ed people to appreciate God’s forgiveness of sin so people could again be in right relation with God.  Jesus peopled his parables with people in debt. No doubt Jesus observed the misfortune; he may have experienced it first hand in his family.

Jesus interpreted the experience of the woman who bathed, dried and kissed Jesus’ feet as forgiven debt. The larger [the] debt…forgiven the greater love wells up in a person. The woman who bathed, dried and kissed Jesus’ feet intuited that the one who cancelled her debt of sinfulness was the most Exalted One. She recognized that interior truth before she learned  Jesus was in her city.1 Her felt knowledge that God graciously had set her in right relation with God spilled over into intimate action—bathing, touching, kissing the feet of him who preach[ed] and proclaim[ed that matchless] good news. Indeed, her reaction to God renewing her life  defied the conventions of her society: she touched a man in public in ways reserved only for spouses in private! The prominent aroma of the costly perfume imparted to everyone in Simon’s house God at work in her singular experience which no one could recognize but Jesus: Your faith has saved you.

Perhaps we do well to inhale the sweet perfume of God’s labour in us that has made us right with God. Recalling our experience of forgiveness reminds us again of our triune God’s intimate concern for us. The measure of anyone’s sin is the measure of divine forgiveness. Divine forgiveness is a sweet debt: a debt that does not frighten but assures; a debt giving life and well-being; one giving us a new home; the one giving us new courage to live Jesus’ good news of the kingdom of God untrammelled by personal or social expectations that blind us to being sinners loved by God and prevent us from living as Jesus’ disciples today.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Let yourself grow more aware of our triune God desiring you to enjoy a share in divine life now. Bask in their freeing gift.
  • Ask the woman who loved much to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for you; thank him for forgiving you and restoring your life’s meaning even though you felt it was extinguished forever.
  • Ask Jesus to strengthen your commitment to imitate his faith, his human response to God.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. It models the way Jesus practiced his saving faith. He gave it to us to help move through the hours of our day with deeper faith and be witnesses of his forgiving peace.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. The same word may be translated learned and recognized. The word means a felt-knowledge more than mere fact.

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