September 19, 2013



Just got back from a 2-day trip with IPF. Thanks for your patience.

All the readings together
1st Timothy 4:12-16
Psalm 111:7-8,9,10,11

In today's Gospel reading at Mass we read how a "Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table" (Luke 7:36). However, the scene soon shifts to the unexpected: "Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that Jesus 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." (Luke 37-38)

Who is she? Who is this inspiring woman so moved that she began "weeping" and soon "bathes his feet with her tears?" Perhaps she was among the crowds who heard about Sunday's prodigal son and merciful father. Perhaps she was in the crowds when Jesus healed the woman who was hemorrhaging. Perhaps she, like others, was shocked when Jesus raised the official’s daughter from death. If she was in those crowds, we know she was on the outskirts. This woman was a sinful woman. She didn’t fit in the Jewish codes and categories. She lived isolated, alone, and yearning for love and mercy. As she "learned that Jesus was at table in the house of the Pharisee" (Luke 7:37), she is filled with contrition that can be described as heartfelt sorrow propelled by mercy. Thus, she "stood behind him at his feet weeping." (Luke 7:38)

There is a difference between being sorry because we’ve disappointed ourselves in our quest for self-perfection as opposed to true contrition because we have truly turned away from God. When we encounter Jesus, we encounter pure love. Then, we truly realize who he really is. We see our sins for what they truly are—ungrateful rejections of his desire to love. That’s contrition, real contrition. That’s why she wept. She was truly sorry and contrite.

What about you? What has Jesus done for you? Have you taken his mercy for granted? Where is there ingratitude? Look at his heart, his love, and pray for the grace of true contrition.

Enter the scene today. Imaginatively pray with Luke 7:36-38. Be with Jesus in the home of the Pharisee. Be with the woman as she cries. What stirs within you as she cries? What stirs within as you look at your response to God’s love?

© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013


This Sunday, September 22 we continue the third part of the "Who is Jesus?" homily series. Let's start preparing for Mass this weekend. Click here to read the readings that we'll hear at Mass this weekend. Last night at Oremus we discussed the ancient art of Lectio Divina. Let's practice Lectio Divina as we read the readings at Mass this Sunday.
  1. First: read all the readings slowly. Pay attention to the story, the context.
  2. Secondly: read the readings again, a second time ... read them even slower. Pay attention to what word or phrase grabs your attention or tugs at your heart.
  3. Finally: read the reading that contains the word or phrase grabs your attention or tugs at your heart. Read it really slow. Pay attention to your heart. 
  4. Now ... talk to God about what stirred within. Talk to Him about the word or phrase grabbed your attention or tugged at your heart.