The ultimate measure is love! And where there is generous love, mercy flows lavishly!
The un-named woman with the alabaster jar! The party crasher! That’s how we see her. We are filled with images of tears that wash the feet of Jesus, her hair being used as a drying cloth and the kissing of Jesus’ feet. Perhaps we can smell the expensive perfume poured on Jesus’ head. What did Jesus do when this woman audaciously enters and begins her ritual of love and gratitude? While others name her a sinner and shame her, Jesus reclines and accepts her as she is, without speaking. Pope Francis shares this reflection:
The sinful woman teaches us the link between faith, love and gratitude. Her “many sins” were forgiven her and therefore she loves much, “but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (v. 47). Even Simon has to admit that the one who has been forgiven more, loves more. God has enclosed everyone in the mystery of mercy; and from this love, which always goes before us, all of us learn to love. As St. Paul reminds us: “In Christ, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he has lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8). In this text, the word “grace” is practically synonymous with mercy, and is called “lavish,” that is, beyond our expectations, for it carries out God’s saving plan for each of us. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be grateful for the gift of faith. Let us thank the Lord for so great and unmerited a love. Let us allow Christ’s love to be poured out into us: the disciple draws from and is grounded in this love; and on this love everyone can be nourished and fed. In this way, in the grateful love that we, in turn, pour out on our brothers and sisters, in our home, on our family, and in society, we communicate the Lord’s mercy to everyone.