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Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Tim. 4:12-16 & Lk. 7:36-50

The young Timothy is being encouraged and counselled by Saint Paul in today's first reading: his age does not mean he has nothing to offer because the way he speaks, and his manner of living, can influence people for good or bad.

He has been empowered by the laying on of hands. He must use his time profitably by reading to the people and taking great care about what he teaches and how he preaches. All this is good advice to every young priest.

In today's Gospel reading we see a woman who acts in an unbelievable way! To have acted like this in public meant that what Jesus had said to her in the past touched her deeply, for she brought an alabaster jar of ointment and with floods of tears washed His feet and wiped them away with her hair. Then she kissed them and anointed them with the ointment she had brought.

Obviously Jesus knew how His words had touched this sinful woman’s heart and so He did not stop her but if she had acted like this to the Pharisee I am sure he would have been very embarrassed. Now all the Pharisee could do was to criticize her knowing she had a sinful past. Jesus knew that, too, but He also knew that she had repented and was so grateful to Him for forgiving her and for understanding her weakness.

Jesus chose this moment to point out to the Pharisee that he had missed an opportunity for forgiveness because he was a sinner but was too smug and had not asked for forgiveness as she had. She knew how to seek forgiveness and so her many sins had been forgiven.

This episode in the life of this sinful woman can teach us to realise that we are all sinners and in great need of going to Christ in the confessional and asking Him to forgive us - and hearing from Him that “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Lord Jesus, may I never be critical of others but always be conscious of the sins I commit, and ready to seek Your forgiveness in the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation.

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