Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom-house; and he said to him, “Follow me!” And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why is it, that your master eats with sinners and tax collectors?”
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Reflections
“What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.”
Why does Jesus want mercy? He wants mercy because mercy, together with forgiveness, is restorative. It heals the broken human heart; it restores back fragmented spirit to wholeness. Mercy connects us back to God, our fellow human creatures, and other nonhuman creatures
Because Jesus has shown us his mercy, he wants us to give it to others; he wants us to pass it on to others. This is the only way things will work in favor of humanity and all creation. What God has done to us, what we ourselves have experienced as a result of the love and mercy of God, we also pass on to others. And so we become instrument or agent of God’s divine and wonderful action in our lives. God’s action simply flows through us towards others, so that they, too, might experience God’s love and mercy.
In 2017 Pope Francis added the“care of creation”as a modern work of mercy. The mercy of God is now extended to include the rest of God’s “very good” creation. This is grounded in the pure love of God that knows no limit; his love embraces all of life, all that he has created. That is why we are all enjoined to be merc ful to all creatures, both humans and nonhumans alike.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

Gospel: Luke 8:1-3
Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Suzanna; and others, who provided for them out of their own funds.

Reflections
“Some women followed him.”
The gospel passage today might seem to project a diminution of Jesus’ women followers, being possessed by evil spirits and being freed from demons. But the gospel writer does not intend it that way; he is simply saying that among those who were healed, responded generously, and followed Jesus were women (Brendan Byrne). The passage need not be construed as portraying women with secondary or inferior roles to men.
Since the early Christian Church women have played an important role and have significantly impacted the proclamation of the good news. Some even assumed leadership roles. Their role was not limited to domestic services, such as cooking, washing, mending, etc. (Byrne). Nowadays, we are witness to the ever-growing involvement and invaluable contribution of lay women in different areas of Church ministry. And in some areas, they are leading the way. The giftedness of women is a vital element in bringing forward the work of the Church in our modern world. The need for their active participation may not be felt in some quarters, but it is a fact that women’s giftedness has already substantially impacted the evangelizing work of the Church and proven itself worthy of the task. Women’s active participation calls for recognition and more encouragement.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

Gospel: Luke 7:36-50
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share his meal, so he went to the Pharisee’s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. And it happened that, a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that he was in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and stood behind him, at his feet, weeping. She wet his feet with tears; she dried them with her hair; she kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them.
The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what sort of person is touching him; isn’t this woman a sinner?”
Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, master.” And Jesus said, “Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously canceled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.” And Jesus said, “You are right.” And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave me no water for my feet when I entered your house; but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t welcome me with a kiss; but she has not stopped kissing my feet since she came in. You provided no oil for my head; but she has poured perfume on my feet. This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others reclining with him at the table began to wonder, “Now this man claims to forgive sins!” But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”

Reflections
“Her many sins are forgiven.”
Sin ruins human lives; it destroys the natural world. Everything that was made “very good”, any- thing that relates to the good it wants to be destroyed. Sin is the absence of the good; it cannot co-exist with goodness. Sin breaks the relationship with God, and the relation between humans and their fellow human beings and between humans and the natural world. Sin corrupts the human heart. It brings misery, loneliness and fear. With all these descriptions, we can easily identify its effects and manifestations, its many faces.
Forgiveness is sin’s reversal; it undoes what sin has done. Al- though in many cases the undoing takes longer time, still forgiveness restores back what has been lost and destroyed. Forgiveness brings about transformation inside the human person and promotes her/his well-being; it effects the flourishing of the natural world through humans. Forgiveness brings peace; it heals the wounded heart and re- stores the broken relationship. That is why the sinful woman, having been forgiven her many sins, has poured out her love in gratitude. She was reconnected back to her God and restored to a new “life”.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

Gospel: Luke 7:31-35
And Jesus said, “What comparison can I use for the people? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, about whom their companions complain, ‘We piped you a tune and you wouldn’t dance; we sang funeral songs and you wouldn’t cry.’
Remember John: he didn’t eat bread or drink wine, and you said, ‘He has an evil spirit.’ Next, came the Son of Man, eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Look, a glutton for food and wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But the children of Wisdom always recognize her work.”

Reflections
Children of Wisdom recognize her work.”
Commenting on this gos- pel reading, Brendan Byrne SJ noted that the words “Wisdom” and “children” represent God’s saving plan and Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively. Both are considered the first children of the plan of God in the sense that John prepared the way for Jesus and preached a baptism of repentance; and, that Jesus enacted the divine plan of salvation in his ministry of teaching, healing, forgiving and reconciling. They are the first product of God’s saving act.
Picking up on this under- standing of being “children of Wisdom”, we share in the status of John and Jesus its children, or as the children of the reign of justice, love and mercy, in so far as we do not remain silent in the midst of abuse and exploitation of our fellow humans and indiscriminate destruction of the natural world. We become its children when we lend a voice to the “voiceless” poor of our society and to the“voiceless” creatures of the natural world. Furthermore, we become its children when we actively pro- mote justice, love and peace, whether individually or collectively, in our own family or in the wider community of life.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2019