Judge fruit with care, and toss it once it’s past the date on the package … Sunday, June 16

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Are you keeping rotten fruit? WHY?!

Luke 7:36-50

       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 day’s 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.”
      I can understand the reaction of the Pharisee. Sadly, I think most people, happily not all people, tend to have similar reactions. Of course Jesus said that by their fruits we would know “them”. In this instance to look at this woman’s past would be to see some pretty rotten fruit. But that view would miss the real point, which point is here and now. In the here and now the fruit is penance, heartfelt and with tears. In seeing rotten fruit, and being judgmental is a fruit of the most putrid kind, I suppose we all need to be on guard lest WE become one of “them”.
      Jesus, seeing beyond what we might think of as obvious, saw the heart and forgave her sins. And here was yet another thorn in the side of the self-righteous. Can a MAN forgive sins? Only God can forgive sin! This backwards way of looking at the subject is still considered an unassailable truth by some. When a priest forgives sin they say the same thing the Pharisee said. They forget that Jesus, being God, can share His authority with others and did. And does. “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” John 20:23. When the priest, that MAN with the collar, forgives sins? It’s only because God has given him the power and authority to do so. Which means it’s God doing the forgiving THROUGH him, using him as an instrument of His Love.
      So we have three people here, don’t we? The judgmental, the penitent, the one who forgives. It occurs to me that there is one other person that should be here and isn’t, and that’s sad. Sometimes judgmental folks see themselves for what they are, sinners, and become, like the woman here, penitents. Sometimes sinful people, again like the lady here, see themselves and repent. But these people who make that Godly turn around in their lives? Sometimes they become yet another class of people. The ones that, having honestly repented, look back over their lives and beat themselves up over it. Not that they doubt God’s forgiveness, they don’t. And it’s not necessarily that they don’t forgive themselves, although that may of course be the case. It’s just that they can’t get past the memories and the regret. And this is a sad way to live because it takes us out of the now, which time ought to be spent praising God for His goodness and working for Him in His will. Looking back can trip us up as we move forward. Looking back can make us miss our apostolate of the “now”. And all of our debt that has been forgiven, regardless the size of it, the memory of it becomes as heavy as the original debt.
      We can judge fruit. We can judge our own fruit. But you know, when it goes past the expiration date, aka honest repentance and true forgiveness, its OK to toss it into the trash. Don’t believe me? Try carrying a banana around with you, in your pocket, for six months.
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Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 5:05 am  Comments Off on Judge fruit with care, and toss it once it’s past the date on the package … Sunday, June 16  
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