Luke 7:36 â€“ 8:3Â – The 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time â€“ for Sunday, June 16, 2013
â€œOne of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with himâ€¦â€ (Luke 7:36)
The Gospel of Luke and its affiliates proudly present:
THE PHARISEE AND THE WHORE*
These are the players . . .
- Simon, the Pharisee.
- An unnamed whore**.
- And those at the table.
This is what happened . . .
- Simon asked Jesus to his home for a meal.
- The whore arrived uninvited and bathed Jesusâ€™ feet with ointment from an alabaster jar, her tears and kisses.
- The Pharisee was ________*** by the womanâ€™s actions. Simon wondered if Jesus knew a sinnerâ€™s hands had touched him.
- Jesus regaled his dinner companions with a tale about forgiving sins. And to cap the evening off, Jesus noted Simon had treated him like dirt, while the whore honored him.
- Jesus, after the story within the story, forgave the whoreâ€™s sins.
- Those at the table grumbled and Lukeâ€™s chapter ended.
So what came next for Simon the Pharisee, Jesus, the whore and those at the table?
* Iâ€™m not happy with the title. It needs more oomph.
** Lukeâ€™s Gospel refers to her as â€œa sinner.â€ Maybe she stole bread from the farmerâ€™s market or cheated her boss out of money or worked on the Sabbath. Then or now, there are many ways to sin. But, if only to enhance the storyâ€™s drama, to add a whiff of titillating sex like in a bad Hollywood movie, Iâ€™ll call her a whore. Itâ€™s fine with me if you prefer her as a thief or cheater.
*** Luke doesnâ€™t toss in a nice juicy word or two to reveal how the Pharisee felt. What do you think? Was the Pharisee . . . amused, disappointed, offended, irked, flabbergasted, angry or aroused?
* Â * Â *
The Pharisee in Luke 7â€™s verses troubles me.
Iâ€™m troubled by the Phariseeâ€™s actions, and by what may come next for the person who invited Jesus to his table, because Iâ€™m a â€œreligious authority,â€ a modern day version of a Pharisee. Long, long ago, when a United Methodist bishop gingerly rested his palm on my head, and declared me ordained, I began to read the Bible with different eyes.
Iâ€™d be foolish if I didnâ€™t. Continue reading →