Support the Café

Search our Site

Speaking to the Soul: If He Only Knew

Speaking to the Soul: If He Only Knew

5 Easter, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 56, 57, [58] (morning) // 64, 65 (evening)

Wisdom 9:1, 7-18

Colossians (3:18-4:1)2-18

Luke 7:36-50

Throughout the gospel narratives, people are always trying to measure Jesus by their standards, expectations, and prototypes. Is Jesus the Messiah? I he a prophet? Is he divine? Luke’s gospel is especially concerned with Jesus’s prophetic status. In today’s gospel passage, a Pharisee thinks he has a slam-dunk case against Jesus as a prophet.

The Pharisee reasons like this: When he sees Jesus allowing a woman to bathe his feet with her tears, and to kiss his feet and lavish them with ointment, the Pharisee thinks that Jesus has no prophetic insight whatsoever. The Pharisee says to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him.” No prophet would allow this “kind of woman” to touch him.

It turns out, though, that Jesus uses his prophetic powers in a completely different way than the Pharisee anticipated. Instead of using prophetic knowledge to identify and keep his distance from sinners, Jesus prophetically discerns and challenges the judgmental spirit within others. Jesus tells the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you,” and he tells a parable illustrating that those who have been greatly forgiven have a greater capacity for love.

Last Thursday, St. Paul’s was exquisitely blessed to host Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, to help launch a sister program in Fayetteville. This ministry will offer hospitality and sanctuary, as well as education and training, to formerly incarcerated women with histories of sexual exploitation. Like the Pharisee in today’s gospel, so many people see these women as condemned and untouchable (except as commodities or targets of violence). But with Jesus as our prophet, our motto is, “Love Heals.”

In today’s gospel, the Pharisee thinks that if Jesus only knew what kind of woman this was at his feet, he wouldn’t let her touch him. But Jesus, the true prophet of God’s people, must have thought, “If this Pharisee only knew what kind of woman this was–full of love and poised for healing–he would have welcomed her as his guest as well.” May Jesus the prophet help us to see such love, potential, and power among God’s people.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Catherine Haggard

What appropriate comments as we are facing yet another uprising by people who are at the least disenfranchised and are certainly seeking the love and acceptance that Christ gives to all.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café