In today’s Sunday gospel, we see two people who both had their own “Jesus Encounter”, Simon the Pharisee, and the sinful woman, let’s see who was more blessed & loved by Jesus.
Both had their own encounter with the Lord but having different states of heart, one was full of love and compassion, the other judgement and contempt. How can this happen when both were blessed by the presence of the Lord?
The Pharisee, instead of being thankful of Jesus’ acceptance to dine in his home, judged Jesus for allowing the sinful woman to touch him. Instead of seeing Jesus’ loving compassion to the sinner, his heart was full of contempt for the sinful woman, thus he was not able to feel God’s love through Jesus Christ for his heart was hardened by his judgement.
The sinful woman, acknowledging her sins and seeing the great mercy the Lord has bestowed upon her, poured out all her heart and soul in serving the Lord in her very humble gesture. Her heart was open to receive God’s love and mercy that it overflowed through her actions.
In these two people, we see two hearts, one that is hardened and closed, the other open and waiting to be filled.
Sometimes when we judge other people, when we think selfishly, when arrogance overcomes us, when we let our pride dictate the state of hearts, our hearts closes in on itself and becomes hard. When our hearts are hardened we fail to see God’s overflowing love and blessings to us and instead we become self-righteous and we tend to judge other people in the process. This self-righteousness hinders us from doing good and sharing God’s great love and mercy to other people.
When our hearts are open, it is then filled by God with his great love and mercy for us. When our hearts are open, it is in this state that God blesses us more and uses us to be a source of blessing to others. And the more our hearts are open, the more it is filled with love until it overflows to our actions and shows through our interactions with the people around us.
Yesterday during our CLS Weekend, I was blessed by God with all the divine appointments I have encountered during the whole day. It reminded me of God’s great calling of being a missionary. He used the different stories of struggles and victories of the people in that CLS Weekend to inspire and energize me once again to fulfill His call for evangelization.
The sharings that I heard will just remain stories instead of blessings if I didn’t open my heart and listened wholeheartedly to them. Sometimes when the people around us tells us their stories, most of time the first thing that comes to mind is “what is it to me? What can I get from hearing this story?” and when our selfish thoughts prevail, we are robbed of that opportunity of being blessed by that person’s sharing. Most of the time the Lord speaks to us through other people more than during our prayer time, let our hearts remain open and willing to be filled by God through our everyday encounter with people.
Brothers and sisters let us empty our hearts of our selfishness and self-righteousness and instead let us open our hearts to the great love of our Lord. Let the state of our hearts be always full of love, for great love leads to great actions.
by Hope Reyes, SFL Missionary