Daily Reflection
September 19th, 2002
 Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Chaplain, Kiewit Residence Hall
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1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 28
Luke 7:36-50

There is such a thing as a bad question.  "Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?" is one, and another is "Is Mary the Mother of God because she is the Immaculate Conception, or is she the Immaculate Conception because she is the Mother of God?"  The lesson in today's gospel is based on a similar problem of language and reason.

Here Jesus tells the story of a man who is grateful because his debt is forgiven, then he turns around and applies the lesson backwards: the woman is forgiven because she has loved.  The question of the size of the debt or the sin which is remitted is actually secondary here, at least to a great extent, as is the amount of gratitude or love involved.  I believe that the implicit lesson is that love and forgiveness are indeed related to each other but not only in a clear causal manner: Jesus forgives us our sins when we ask and, almost completely separately, we love Jesus for who he is.

If this is not accurate, then we are making our relationship to Christ a matter of quid pro quo, a simple commercial exchange, and not what Jesus calls us to, deep friendship and actual inclusion into his divine family.  We need to accept the fact that God loves us, simply and deeply, without any dependance on whether we love him or not: his love is always there, unchanging and powerful, no matter what we do, think, or desire, and forgiveness and healing are waiting for us when we ask for them.  And, in an almost entirely independent movement, we should love, honor, and serve our God.

But that is a matter that will be clear to us in all of its simplicity only in heaven.

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