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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Seeing Others as They are

"Do you see this woman?" Lk 7:44

Look closely at this Tissot painting. Do you see the woman? While Jesus is clearly pointing towards her, recognizing her, perhaps even inviting her to look at him, her head is bent over his feet, washing them and drying them with her hair.  We do not see her face, nor do we know her name, but she is at Jesus' feet as a servant, begging for forgiveness and hoping for his blessing.

The woman who no one sees becomes an icon for all. Called to be servants of compassion who recognize our own sin and seek a new way of living, the woman in today's gospel beckons us to conversion and transformation. Speechless, her voice and challenge are loud. Unless we humble ourselves and accept our need for God and others in faith, we will be like the men in this painting who are busy about everything except what they ought be doing. Jesus holds up the woman washing his feet, who is invisible to those whose arrogance sets them above others, as an invitation to seekers. Do not look down on anyone because of their public sin. Rather, gaze with compassion on all those whose sin acknowledge their sinfulness but seek conversion. Only in this way, will we be able to see ourselves with God's eye and seek God's mercy.

Today, bow in humility before the all forgiving God.

What areas of your life lead you to pride?

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