The Pharisee cannot understand how Jesus could allow such a woman to come close to him, to talk to him and even dare to wash his feet with her tears. Jesus should have known better, according to the Pharisee. Before I go thinking about how hypocritical the Pharisee is, perhaps I should stand back to ask myself how forgiving I am?
This beautiful work is attributed to an "unknown artist." Although it is intended to depict Mary Magdalene looking up at the Risen Jesus in the Garden of the Resurrection, it could also stand in as depicting the sinful woman hearing Jesus words to her in today's Gospel. How incredulous to see him risen from the dead! How incredulous to be forgiven so totally!
Each time I avail myself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the last word the priest says to me is "Go in peace." This is what Jesus said to the sinful woman as she was about to leave. This is what he says to me too. How wonderful a gift to be forgiven over and over again, so incredibly. Can I be as forgiving to others as Jesus is to this woman and to me?