In today’s Gospel we are given two examples of following.
In the Pharisee we see a follower of the faith who has lived his life in the pursuit of what it takes to journey the path to heaven. He has studied; he made his own the law that has led his people through millennia. This law, which has led the Jews, is their total orientation; with it they believe they are following God’s will, and indeed God had given them guidance in the form of the Pentateuch. But as we see with the reaction of this Pharisee to Jesus, and to the woman, to some it has become formulistic, abstract, and barren; it doesn’t breathe God’s life into the journey. Those like this Pharisee only see the obligation of law; they have become hermits within the letters.
In the scandalous woman we are led to see someone who doesn’t understand this long standing set of rules and regulations, indeed for most of her life she flaunts them and lives a life of wanton abandon and moral decay. But when she sees the Lord, hears that He is close she has a conversion of heart and goes out of her way to honor Him and by her actions ask for forgiveness. She isn’t so caught up in the letters that she misses the Word made flesh come to bring mercy and forgiveness. She has found the living God and she has come to Him. We see in this woman that to believe and to follow is to relate with our God; to throw ourselves on His love and mercy, to commit ourselves to His will and to trust in Him so as to bring anything and everything to Him.
It is my hope as we continue with our school of discipleship, that we too can resist the letters that end up in stale and sterile routines and come to the word who brings conversion of heart by His mercy. May our hearts not become stone but remain as God would have them, natural. May we weep at the feet of our savior with tears of sorrow for our weaknesses and of joy that our God has found us and we have found Him.