Why did Jesus put the parable of the two debtors before his learned host, a rabbi and teacher of the people? This parable is similar to the parable of the unforgiving official (see Mt 18:23-35) in which the man who was forgiven much showed himself merciless and unforgiving. Jesus makes clear that great love springs from a heart forgiven and cleansed. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4:8), “for love is of God” (1 Jn 4:7). The woman’s lavish expression of love was proof that she had found favor with God. The stark contrast of attitudes between Simon and the woman of ill-repute, demonstrate how we can either accept or reject God’s mercy. Simon, who regarded himself as an upright Pharisee, felt no need for love or mercy. His self-sufficiency kept him for acknowledging his need for God’s grace. Does the upright practice of your faith sometimes lead you into self-righteousness and self-sufficiency? Are you grateful for God’s mercy and grace?
(Adapted from Don Schwager)