Gospel of Luke 7:36-50 Reflection:
Both of today’s readings speak about people being expected to behave in the manner expected of them; Timothy is a young man sent to be the leader of a church and thus expected to behave in a certain way. Jesus is looked upon as a prophet and thus the Pharisees believe that he should know a sinner when he sees one and that he should shun her.
That is the perennial problem with all of us; whether we admit it or not we expect people to behave in a particular way and when they don’t do that we get annoyed. Bracketing people into wee boxes is so easy. “I knew you would say that” or “I knew you would do that,” makes us feel so superior.
But there is something worse in this; it allows for nothing new, no growth, no new adventure of understanding or seeing a person or life in a new way.
The Jewish culture was very patriarchal; a man did not reach full maturity until he was thirty. Timothy was probably younger than this and thus had the problem of elders not taking him seriously.
Prophets don’t eat with sinners, and when Jesus went to the house of Simon and the ‘women with the bad name’ came in and washed his feet, the Pharisees expected him to reject her.
But Jesus so brilliantly turns the whole argument around on them. He shows that this woman loves much because she has been forgiven much. The Pharisees cannot argue with his logic, it is blatantly obvious.
Then he does something new to them; he publicly forgives her sins.
Only God was able to forgive sin. No man can assume that right. The Pharisees are confused.
When we have everything and everyone in neat little boxes what else can we be but confused when someone moves outside their box.