Luke 7:36-50 A Sinful Woman
Tears are for sorrow. They are also for surprised joy.
There are some among us who live their lives in total darkness. They move in the evening and sleep during the day. They nourish themselves in the darkest of hours and in all the lost places. They are the dead to life, numb to beauty and sickened by sin. They are unknown, with no names, shadows that walk in the valley of tears.
All these years lost in sin had not yet killed all the graces that the Eternal Father had released onto her. She was dying a slow and painful death but could not overcome the fear of destitution. What would life be without money or a warm bed? Now, after so much time - after wrestling with all the devils and ghosts of years gone by - she had overcome the fear and reached a never imagined hypothesis: What would life be like with Jesus of Nazareth?
An adulterous woman, whom many considered lost, had found her way to the Lord. By this time not a single obstacle could dissuade her from falling at the feet of the Lord. She could no longer wait. Her moment had arrived. Hours and hours of back and forth with mind and body had finally come to this conclusion: I must see him. It has to be now!
It seemed to take forever to arrive at the door. The physical distance was insignificant. The moral leap could only be described by one man’s step into fame: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Her name, her identity is irrelevant at this time. What St. Luke would like to tell his future readers is that this woman is a child of Eve, the whole of humanity! The world is a very small place. We are all united in sin. From time to eternity we are only one breath away; from sinner to saint, only one confession away. The miracle of the Universe is not how vast it is, but how cozy it feels. This step for this unknown woman felt so right and yet was so hard, harder than any steps ever taken before. How easy it is to fall into sin. How difficult it is to seek forgiveness.
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, was once asked “How many ways are there to heaven?” The Holy Father responded immediately, “As many as there are people.”
As we walk in the valley of darkness and tears, I have no fear for you, my God, are with me. This is the secret. This is the surprise. The Lord walks with those who love him. Our journey to heaven may be as different as the man in China, but if the Lord is my guide, my companion and my Savior, then the journey will always lead me to a joy that is complete.
The sinful woman was surprised by Christ and wept for joy. She had made it home, through the dark, amidst the anguish of devils and ghosts of her past, to a guide that would eventually take her to His Father’s mansion, where there would be no more wailing or grinding of teeth, but an alabaster flask of ointment to bathe her feet and a Father to wipe away her tears.