YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 24TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: FRIEND OF SINNERS
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Lk. 7:36-50) Thursday of the Twenty Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus was approached by a woman who was a public and confessed sinner. She humbly expressed to Jesus her repentance by weeping, kissing and bathing Jesus’ feet with oil. It was an unusual situation for her to do as she did but her repentance and belief in Jesus gave her that courage. Jesus recognized it while the Pharisees did not. We call what the woman did as “utang-na-loob.” This is strong in us Filipinos. This is very much connected with forgiveness.
Repentance comes upon recognition that something bad had been done against another and God had been offended. The feeling of guilt comes from the fact that it was a disrespect, disobedience, and a violation of the relationship. Something comes to be owed (utang). The greater the number and deeper the pain of the sins calls for a proportional repentance and reparation. If the person has “utang-na-loob,” the person will make actions to pay what are owed and express them sincerely.
Unfortunately, in our times, this “utang-na-loob” is being used for other reasons. Some people will serve or help others in view of something they will collect later out of “utang-na-loob.” This is really sad because an attitude which has very good intentions had been used for the bad. Many people now are politically, economically, psychologically, and even emotionally blackmailed because of “utang-na-loob.” Thus, forgiveness is taken out of the equation. “Utang- na-loob” had, in fact, become a tool for further separating people.
Our Lord knows how to recognize and make use of “utang-na-loob.” He admired the faith, love, and repentance of the woman who had served her. In the process, she received forgiveness. it gives us the message that we have something in us, in “utang-na-loob”, a treasure which can address our tribulations and weaknesses. “Utang- na-loob” when used properly combines with humility, forgiveness, love, and salvation.