The invisible woman - 18 March 2022

By Xanthe Hancox

In the Jewish culture of the first century, women generally had few rights and were expected not to be seen or heard. Even in the gospel accounts, few women are named.

The anonymous woman in today’s story crashes Simon’s party and makes a scene as she lets down her hair in public. This gesture would have been shocking, misunderstood as seductive. Her perfume permeates the air. Her weeping breaks the awkward silence.

Jesus knows what Simon is thinking, so he tells a brief parable about debts and forgiveness. Then he asks Simon a seemingly obvious question: “Do you see this woman?”

Of course, Simon really doesn’t see her. He observes the woman’s actions but fails to discern what is happening in front of him. Jesus understands that this woman is pouring out her deepest feelings of thanksgiving and love toward God. It’s a sacred moment of unconditional surrender and devotion to God.

This question reverberates into our time as well: “Do we see this woman?” We often choose to stay neutral, impartial, and detached when it comes to expressing emotion for God. But such a radical outpouring of affection to Jesus is the natural response of a forgiven Christian.

We need the eyes of Jesus to see and honour the beauty of such great love when a forgiven sinner shows it.

Prayer: Lord, free us to see the love of others for you and to show our love too, in welcoming them for your sake. Amen