Pharisee or sinner, which am I?

During a small group study this week we discussed Luke 7:36-50

36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 1And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were 2a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred 3denarii, and the other fifty. 42 “When they 4were unable * to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you 5gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You 6gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 7You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, 8Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “9Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 And He said to the woman, 10Your faith has saved you; 11go in peace.”

 This all seems pretty straight forward, at first, but then I begin to think about this exchange, what would I have been like if I had been there? Would I be the Pharisee or the Sinner, I can see myself being both to be honest. Looking deeper why do you think the Pharisee invited Jesus? He was probably curious about him, I am sure he had heard much about all the signs our Lord did. We could assume being a Pharisee he was boastful about how he kept the Law of Moses and that Jesus, if he were a Prophet, should want to dine with him, a holy man. BUT we are making an assumption here, maybe he was a humble Pharisee, he had heard much about Jesus and wanted to learn more and possibly become a disciple maybe. How quickly we can judge others.
Next why do you suppose Jesus accepted his invite? We can assume he knew what would happen and it would be a great opportunity to teach. But maybe he saw value in the Pharisee and wanted to teach and convert his thinking? What message was our sending to those involved as well as all of us through the scriptures? Was he teaching the Pharisee that no one is sinless not even a Pharisee? Was he teaching the Pharisee that he should show more humility? Was he teaching the Pharisee that those in higher society needed to care for the lesser of society? So many opportunities for lessons to be learned.
Now we come to the woman, the bible does not exactly tell us her sin but most people will assume she was a member of the oldest profession. Just the kind of person our Lord came to help, those without hope. Maybe she was born from a mother who just to live and eat was of the same profession, that would leave little chance to improve ones circumstances in life especially in those days. Can you imagine the courage it took for this woman to walk uninvited into a Pharisee’s home? Do we have the faith that this woman had? She entered for the chance to see our Lord. The Pharisee could have had her thrown out or even worse. Yet she went in anyway. Now we know she went in with humility because of her tears, however, knowing all the signs our Lord had been doing she just as easily could have gone in with a chip on her shoulders claiming that she was being abused and asking our Lord to help her, without a bit of humility.
So what is our Lord trying to teach us? Many things but what I picked up more than anything is learning humility. Whether a Pharisee or a sinner we should be humble as we meet our Lord Jesus Christ. As I mentioned above we do not know for certain but the Pharisee could have invited our Lord in a Boastful manner or a humble manner. The woman could have gone in either way as well.
But what does that mean for me? In todays world, am I the Pharisee or the Woman?  I have been blessed with many opportunities to serve, for one, I am honored to be an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister.  In this task I can be either the Pharisee or the woman from this story. I can stand proud like a peacock and offer our Lord to parish members and be like the Pharisee, or I can be like the woman, know that I am truly not worthy of this task, but am willing to do it to honor our Lord while I serve my parish Priest and Parishioners. If I take on a task at work do I take it on to get the glory and prestige when the task is done? Or do I do it because it is a job that needs to be done and it would be unfair to push it off on others when I have the time and / or talent to complete it on time?
Everyday we have the chance to be the Pharisee or the woman, everyday we have the chance to learn humility. I need a lot of help getting there. How many times have I done something hoping for recognition of others? How many times have I wanted to be in the limelight? How many times have I tried to be the Master instead of the worker? Every day is an opportunity to show humility.
Lord, please look down on me your servant, help me to remain humble, help me to only want to serve others and not be self-serving. I have a song I love to listen to, It’s called the servants song. Here are it’s lyrics:
Brother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, tooWe are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night-time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through

When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agonyBrother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too

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