Proper 6 – Year C

1 Kings 21:1-10, (11-14), 15-21a; (or 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15); Psalm 5:1-8; (or Psalm 32); Galatians 2:15-21; Luke 7:36-8:3

“The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy that might well arouse the envy of the gods.” – Elbert Hubbard

                “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:49)  Post biblical refection has sometimes said that Jesus forgives sins because of his divinity.  People at the dinner party had this question because Jesus forgives the woman who is presumed to be a promiscuous slut.  Not only does Jesus forgive her, he lets her touch him.  Jesus not only pardons sinners, he likes them, and consistently hangs out with them.  Well, so do we.  Since we are all sinners, without exception, who else can we hang out with?  The difference is that Jesus had no self-righteous arrogance.  That’s our special game when we think that we are better than others.  Furthermore, if Jesus forgives others because he is God, how are we able to forgive?  But that is exactly what Jesus wants us to do.  Just read through the Sermon on the Mount, especially the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 5:1-7:27).  If to forgive is only God’s right, then perhaps Jesus is sharing his divinity with us.  We do indeed have this divine power.  To be forgiven by our neighbor can certainly be an ecstatic experience.  What a joy to be returned to harmony with another, what good news (Gospel).  The other side of the coin is that to forgive another is our own ecstasy.  When we do not forgive there is a burden weighing heavy on our hearts.  The offense of the other is taking up space in our minds without paying any rent to be there.  When we forgive we let go of a useless burden that would otherwise anger us, weakening our spirit.  When we forgive we may indeed be taking something off the offender; but more significantly we are taking a load off ourselves.  This is divine activity.  It changes the ego investment in our personal painful story, releasing suffering into a burst of resurrection.  If we were to do as Jesus wished, people would say of us: “Who are these people who even forgive sins.”

Greek

                The Greek word in this passage and elsewhere in the New Testament which is translated “forgive” has the root meaning of “to let go.”  Therefore, when we forgive we are letting go of that which is holding us down.

                Luke 7:38 says that the woman washed Jesus feet with her tears.  This is no small amount of weeping.  The Greek word is the one usually used for rain.

Haiku

Like rain from our eyes

mercy ecstatically

flows in forgiveness.

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