Christ is our love who forgives sins - Luke 7:36-50
In Luke's account Jesus eating with the Pharisee and forgives a sinful woman, we meet that woman who had not yet entered into communion with the Word, because she was still a sinner. She paid the Master honour with what she considered the most precious thing she had, her perfume. Furthermore she wiped off the remainder of the perfume with the garland of her head, her hair. She poured out upon the Lord her tears of repentance. Therefore her sins were forgiven her.
This is a symbol of the Lord’s teachings and of his sufferings. The anointing of his feet with sweet-smelling myrrh suggests the divine teaching whose good smell and fame has spread to the ends of the earth. “Their sound has gone forth to the ends of the earth.” Rom 10:18. Moreover, those anointed feet of the Lord are the apostles. The sweet odor of the myrrh prefigures their reception of the Holy Spirit. I mean that the figure of the Lord’s feet is to be understood of the apostles, who journeyed about the whole world preaching the gospel. (St Clement of Alexandria)
These teachings of our Lord is what the church reminds us in the last week of the first month of the coptic year, the church reminds us of that woman who with her hands of good works, she holds the feet of those who preach his kingdom. She washes them with tears of charity, kisses them with praising lips, and pours out the whole ointment of mercy, until He will turn her.
This means that He will come back to her and say to Simon, to the Pharisees, to those who deny, to the nation of the Jews, “I came into your house. You gave me no water for my feet.” When will He speak these words? He will speak them when He will come in the majesty of his Father and separate the righteous from the unrighteous like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats. He will say, “I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and you did not take me in.” Mat 25:42 This is equivalent to saying, “But this woman, while she was bathing my feet, anointing them and kissing them, did to the servants what you did not do for the Master.” She did for the feet what you refused to the Head. She expended upon the lowliest members what you refused to your Creator. Then He will say to the church, “Your sins, many as they are, are forgiven you because you have loved much.”
The church washes the feet of Christ, wipes them with her hair, anoints them with oil, and pours ointment on them. She not only cares for the wounded and caresses the weary, but she also moistens them with the sweet perfume of grace. She pours this grace not only on the rich and powerful but also on those of lowly birth. She weighs all in an equal balance. She receives all into the same bosom. She caresses all in the same embrace.
He came that he might forgive the debtors much and little and show mercy upon small and great, that there might be no one whatsoever who did not participate in his goodness. (St Cyril of Alexandria).
A first forgiveness is the one by which we are baptised “for the remission of sins.”Lk 11:41 A second forgiveness is in the suffering of martyrdom. The third is the one that is given through alms. The Saviour says, “But nevertheless, give what you have and, behold, all things are clean for you.” A fourth forgiveness of sins is given for us through the fact that we also forgive the sins of our brothers. The Lord and Saviour says, “If you will forgive from the heart your brothers’ sins, your Father will also forgive you your sins. But if you will not forgive your brothers from the heart, neither will your Father forgive you.”Mt 6:14-15 He taught us to say in prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”Mt 6:12 A fifth forgiveness of sins is when “someone will convert a sinner from the error of his way.” Divine Scripture says, “Whoever will make a sinner turn from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” A sixth forgiveness comes through the abundance of love. The Lord himself says, “Truly I say to you, her many sins are forgiven because she loved much.” The apostle says, “Because love will cover a multitude of sins.”1Pet 4:8 There is still a seventh forgiveness of sins through spiritual struggle, although admittedly it is difficult and toilsome. The sinner washes “his couch in tears,”Ps 6:6 and his “tears” become his “bread day and night.” Ps42:3.
Christ is our love.
Love is good, since it offered itself to death for transgressions. Love is good, which forgave sins. Let our soul clothe herself with love of a kind that is “strong as death.”Song 8:6 Just as death is the end of sins, so also is love, because the one who loves the Lord ceases to commit sin. For “charity thinks no evil and does not rejoice over wickedness, but endures all things.”1Cor 13:5-7 If someone does not seek his own goods, how will he seek the goods of another? 1Cor 13:5 That death through the bath of baptism,Titus 3:5 through which every sin is buried, is strong and forgives every fault. The woman in the Gospel brought this kind of love. The Lord says, “Her many sins have been forgiven her, because she has loved much.” The death of the holy martyrs is also strong. It destroys previous faults. Since it involves a love not less than theirs, death that is equal to the martyrs’ suffering is just as strong for taking away the punishment of sins.
To Kiss Christ
A kiss is a mark of love…. He truly kisses Christ’s feet who, in reading the Gospel, recognises the acts of the Lord Jesus and admires them with holy affection. With a reverent kiss, he caresses the footprints of the Lord as he walks following in His footsteps. We kiss Christ, therefore, in the kiss of Communion: “Let him who reads understand.”Mt 24:15… The church does not cease to kiss Christ’s feet and demands not one but many kisses in the Song of Songs.Song 1:2 Since like the Mother of God the Theotokos St Mary she listens to his every saying, she receives his every word when the Gospel or the Prophets are read, and she keeps all these words in her heart.Lk 2:51 The church alone has kisses, like a bride. A kiss is a pledge of nuptials and the privilege of wedlock.
May we all walk and live in the teachings of Christ throught the church, live a life dedicated in love to Him and partake of His Holy Body and Blood in a kiss of communion to abide in Him and for Him to abide in us.