"Do you see this woman?" (Lk 7:44)
Luke,the author of his own Gospel, tells us about an unnamed woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, a story that convinces us that God is merciful beyond our imaginations. The story is so dramatic and compelling, and so full of detail that we wonder whether Luke actually knew the woman or her children.
Jesus, Luke tells us, allows himself to be touched and washed by a woman who had lived a sinful life. Any observant Jew watching this scene would have wondered what Jesus was thinking, but it is the Pharisee who takes the bait. Immediately concluding that Jesus could not be a prophet since he allowed a sinful woman to touch him, wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair, the Pharisee has Jesus in his sights.
But Jesus reads the Pharisee's heart, and asks him a critical question. “Do you see this woman?” The answer is simple and shaming. Of course not. The Pharisee was trying to test Jesus and saw nothing but his possible triumph over an imposter. He could not see the woman as a person. He only saw Jesus failing to keep the law by allowing a sinner to wash his feet and rub them with expensive oil. The Pharisees shame reminds us to listen more deeply to every person we meet, not to judge but to seek to understand them and offer mercy.
Today, take a second look at someone you have judged quickly.
What do you do when you feel shame?