Jesus said, “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. The one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Jesus spoke to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The anonymous woman who bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, and anoints them with ointment makes an extravagant, sensuous, and unforgettable gesture of love and service. Many people mistake this woman for Mary Magdalene, but the passage provides no name.
Interestingly, Jesus’ statement, “Your sins are forgiven,” is in the perfect tense, indicating an action that originates in the past and continues in the present. This suggests that Jesus has forgiven the woman’s sins earlier, not in response to her tears and anointing. How the woman sinned and when she was forgiven are silences in the narrative.
The forgiven woman is the real host offering gratitude and hospitality to Jesus. The Pharisee host of the meal cannot see in her a person transformed and grateful for the forgiveness of her sins but sees her only as who she was. He cannot see Jesus as a prophet if Jesus cannot see the woman as a sinner.
Jesus asks those at dinner, “Do you see this woman?” She has loved much.
How do you see the woman? Who around you lives a transformed life?