Do YOU See Her?

Did they not get the memo?

The fifth commandment states clearly: “Thou shall not kill.” The sixth commandment follows it: “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Tell me where in those commandments are the loopholes? Where does it say that King David, or for that matter, any head of state, has permission from God to act otherwise?

Then there is Simon, a Pharisee and a disciple of Jesus. What part of the Gospel is he missing? Does he forget that Jesus teaches compassion, and mercy, and love, and kindness? Oh, he sees the woman at the feet of Jesus but he fails to take notice. He fails to understand her as a human being, a child of God.

There is a fascinating book entitled, What did Jesus ask? It is a collection of writings from over seventy spiritual writers, poets, and artists who address themselves to the questions Jesus asks in the Gospels. The senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Otis Moss III, focuses our attention on the question, “Do you see this woman?” Jesus addresses the question to Simon, a Pharisee and a disciple. And today, Jesus addresses the question to us.

“Do you see this woman who has been dismissed by Rome and your theological doctrine as a nonentity? Do you see this woman, nameless to all the men, defined as a sinner, rebellious, unclean, of low moral wattage because men who idolize their gender have scandalized her humanity? Look…she is impoverished, oppressed, and wounded, yet she has given great service to God.”

In the words of Otis Moss, “Jesus forces us to look where we do not want to look.” “Do you see this woman?” “Do you see her standing on corners in cities holding a sign soliciting kindness? Do you see her crossing the southern border with children in tow, running from danger and hoping for a new future? Do you see this woman, not yet an adult, walking streets late at night flagging down cars looking for men who cruise the city to support the oldest profession?” Do you see this woman in line behind you at the Jewel-Osco “making choices between food or rent, education or employment, health, or safety, love or security?” Do-you-see-this-woman?

In the words of St. Paul, we all live for God. We all live for God in Christ Jesus. Why do you think all those women follow Jesus and take care of the apostles out of their resources? It is because Jesus treats the women like human beings with respect, care, love and forgiveness. Jesus forgives the woman her many sins because she shows him great love.

There is no greater love than the Eucharist. When we leave our churches today we need to make sure we read the memo. Jesus wants us to see and understand that person we’ve judged harshly.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

11th Sunday

Ordinary Time

Cycle C

Charles Wells drawing


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