Thursday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time
“Her sins, her many sins have been forgiven”
When she saw Christ’s words poured out like ointment everywhere, the sinful woman…began to loathe the stench of her deeds…: “I have not paid due heed to the mercy with which Christ surrounds me, seeking for me when I stray through my own fault. For it is for me that he goes seeking everywhere; it is for my sake he dines at the Pharisee’s house, he who gives food to the whole world. Out of the table he makes an altar of sacrifice where he offers himself, repaying his debtors’ debts so that they might draw near in confidence, saying: “Lord, deliver me from the pit of my own works.”
Eagerly she runs there and, ignoring the crumbs, takes hold of the bread. More famished than even the Canaanite woman (Mk 7, 24f.) she has satisfied her empty soul since she had equal faith. It is not her cry for help that has saved her but her silence, for she said, weeping: “Lord, deliver me from the pit of my own works”…
She hastened to the Pharisee’s house, rushing in her repentance. “Come on, my soul,” she said, “this is the moment you were asking for! The one who makes you pure is waiting there, why remain in the pit of your works? I will go to him since it is for me that he came; I will leave behind my former friends since I desire so passionately him who is there today. And, since he loves me, my perfume and my tears are for him… Longing for the one I long for transforms me and I love him who loves me as he wishes to be loved. I repent and bow low as he expects; the silence and withdrawal that please him are what I seek. I am breaking with the past, renouncing the pit of my works.
“Thus will I go to him to be enlightened, as Scripture says, I will draw close to Christ and will not blush with shame (Ps 33,6; 1Pet 2,6). He will never reproach me; he will not say to me: ‘Only now you were in darkness and you come to see me who am the sun!’ That is why I will take perfume and turn the Pharisee’s house into a baptistery where I will wash away my iniquity and cleanse myself of my sin. I will fill the baptismal font with tears, with oil and perfume in which I shall wash, in which I shall purify myself, and I shall escape from the pit of my own works.”
Saint Romanos Melodios