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An Exposition Of The Gospels by The Most Rev. John Macevilly D.D.

In this chapter, are recorded the healing of the Centurion’s servant (1–10). The raising to life of the son of the widow of Naim (10–17). The embassy from John; our Lord’s teaching in connexion with it, and His panegyric on John (18–35). The anointing of our Lord by the penitent woman, and our Lord’s declaration in reply to the strictures of the proud Pharisee in regard to it (36–50).

1–10. (See Matthew 8:5–10.)

11. “And it came to pass afterwards.” Maldonatus holds that the following miracle, which St. Luke alone records—we have no mention of it by the other Evangelists—did not occur immediately after the cure of the Centurion’s servant, recorded in the preceding verses. He thinks, that the occurrences mentioned in chaps. 8, 9, 10 of St. Matthew, took place between the two miracles narrated here. For, he remarks, all the Evangelist says is, that this miracle of the resuscitation of the young man of Naim occurred “afterwards,” and St. Matthew (chap. 11) says, that after directing and instructing His disciples, our Lord proceeded to preach and teach in their cities; in Naim, where this miracle occurred, among the rest. It is, however, commonly held that the word, “afterwards,” in Latin, “deinceps,” means the following day, as the Syriac version has it. And, indeed, the progressive description of still increasing wonders was very natural on the part of St. Luke. It was wonderful, that a man, who was present, should be cured by our Lord at once, of a loathsome leprosy; and that, by a single word; more wonderful still, to cure an absent man, at the point of death; but most wonderful, to raise to life a man, undoubtedly dead, and carried out to be buried. For, some might say that the Centurion’s servant might have naturally recovered, even though our Lord had not interposed. But, in the last miracle, no evasion or denial could be admitted.

“Naim,” in Greek, Nain, was not far from Capharnaun about two miles from Thebor (St. Jerome, in loc. Hebracis). St. Luke is the only Evangelist that records this miracle.

“His disciples.” The ordinary Greek has ικανοι (many of) “His disciples.” The word is not found in the Vulgate version or Vatican MS.

12. “And a great multitude,” who accompanied Him, owing to His teaching and miracles.

“The gate of the city,” generally a crowded place. “A dead man was carried out,” to be buried. The Jews had their cemeteries outside the towns and villages, for sanitary purposes. “The only son.” The Greek means, “the only-begotten child,” which, naturally, made the grief of his bereaved mother more intense. “And she was a widow,” another circumstance, that made her condition more pitiable, as she lost her only prop and support.

“And a great multitude of the city,” who testified their respect and sympathy, “were with her.” These, together with the crowd who accompanied our Lord, bore ample testimony to the truth of the miracle. Humanly speaking, our Lord’s going to Naim, and meeting the funeral procession, under such circumstances, might seem casual or fortuitous; but, it was all arranged by the over-ruling providence of God, to give His Son an opportunity of performing this great miracle on so public an occasion.

13. Our Lord was moved with compassion at the sad condition of this desolate widow; and, to leave us an example of how we are to treat the afflicted, He consoles her, not only by words—“weep not”—which might afford a cheap and barren sympathy; but, by act.

14. He shows His sympathy by act. “He touched the bier, and they that carried it stood still,” and our Lord at once, by the sole exercise of His power, by His word alone, without any prayers, any ceremony, such as were resorted to by Elias, Eliseus, and St. Peter, to show His omnipotence, perfectly restores to life the young man, who was undoubtedly dead.

15. “Rose up and began to speak.” Our Lord, to show that it was pity and compassion for his mother that induced Him to perform the miracle, “gave him to his mother.” The consequence of this wonderful miracle was, that the people were seized with “fear,” a feeling of awe at so wonderful and unusual an event.

16. “They glorified God,” for having sent so great a Prophet among them, and for having “visited His people,” by sending the great Prophet, promised them of old, by Moses (Deut. 18:15). For a long time, no prophet appeared among them; and now God shows His ancient love for His people, by sending this great Prophet, who wrought more brilliant miracles than ever were performed before. Most likely, they did not regard Him as the Messiah, but only as a great Prophet. Zachary used the words, “visited His people,” in his canticle, but, probably in a higher sense than was meant here; for, he spoke under the influence of inspiration; and he adds, as if referring to the Incarnation of the Son of God, “and wrought the redemption of His people” (1:68).

The resuscitation of the young man of Naim has also an allegorical and moral meaning. The bereaved widow represents the Church, who bewails over each of her sons, by mortal sin dead to God, as if he were an only child. She weeps over them, and employs the multitude of her children to intercede for them. Jesus touched with compassion for the wailing of this bereaved spouse, at once speaks to their hearts. He employs the power and unction of His heavenly grace, He raises them mercifully to life and restores them to their now rejoicing mother to care them, and save them from wandering any more in the ways of sin and death. The three miracles now recorded, represent three classes of sinners; some not altogether abandoned, or so sunk in sin, as not to be able themselves to approach our Lord by prayer, and obtain remission and cure, as did the leper; others, the entire faculties of whose souls are so utterly benumbed from habits of sin, that, like the paralytic servant of the Centurion, they must employ intercessors; and, a third class so utterly abandoned and insensible, that it will require still greater efforts, still greater miracles of divine grace to rouse and restore them. St. Ambrose says, the three dead persons raised by our Lord to life, represent three classes of sinners—the daughter of Jairus lying dead at home, represents those who grievously sin inwardly; the young man here publicly carried out, those who commit external grievous sins; and Lazarus, three days dead and corrupting, those, who are the slaves of evil habits and are buried in sin.

18. John was now in prison (Matthew 11:2).

19–29. (See Matthew 11:2–13.)

29, 30. “And all the people hearing,” &c. Some say the words of these two verses are written by the Evangelist and thrown in, as it were, parenthetically, between the preceding discourse of our Redeemer and its continuation (v. 31, &c). They ground this interpretation on the words (v. 31), “and the Lord said.” But, these words are wanting in many editions and versions. Hence, others maintain that the words of these verses are the words of our Lord; and the consequence which He draws (v. 31), “whereunto then, &c.,” they maintain, favours their construction, as our Lord would not ground this consequence which naturally results from the assertions contained in these verses, (29, 30) on the words of the Evangelist. In this construction, our Lord says, as He says in almost similar terms (chap. 21:31, 32), that the ignorant people, and the greatest sinners, on hearing John’s preaching, “justified God,” glorified and praised Him for His goodness in sending so great a Prophet; declared Him provident, veracious in all His promises; merciful, as announced by John; and in proof of their belief in John’s words, they received the baptism he preached, as a preparation for penance; or “justified,” might mean, they proclaimed God, as the author and source of justice, and received the baptism of John, as a proof of their belief in all he announced, and of their sincere desire to embrace the course of penance, which he pointed out, as necessary. Our Lord depicts in brighter colours, the perversity of the Pharisees and those learned in the law, viz., “the Scribes,” by contrasting them with the ignorant people and the most notorious sinners. “They despised the counsel of God, against themselves,” that is, spurning the preaching of John, and refusing to receive his baptism, they spurned the gracious designs of God regarding them, and this “against themselves,” to their own condemnation; or, “against” might mean “in,” “within,” in their own hearts, they despised God’s beneficent designs of mercy in their regard. This is said of the Pharisees in general; as, no doubt, some of them did follow the teachings of John, as some of the people and publicans turned a deaf ear to his preaching. Hence, our Lord, or the Evangelist, speaks of both classes in general terms, as likely there were some exceptions among both, in the way of following or rejecting “the counsels of God.”

31–35. (See Matthew 11:16–19.)

36. And one of the Pharisees.” His name was “Simon” (v. 40), whether the same as “Simon the leper” (Matthew 26:6), is disputed. Although the anointing of our Lord, mentioned here, as occurring two years before our Lord’s Passion, must be different from that recorded, as occurring immediately on the eve of His Passion, by Matthew 26:5; Mark 14:3, &c.; John 12:3, &c., all of whom refer to the latter anointing, and say nothing of that recorded here by St. Luke, who, in turn, omits all mention of the anointing recorded by them; still, it is held by many, that the Simon mentioned here, is the same as “Simon the leper.” This they infer from the identity of name, and also from the familiar intimacy and friendship which existed between Simon and “the woman,” who discharged this great office of piety in regard to our Lord, at his house; otherwise, she would hardly have obtruded herself on the occasion of supper, in the presence of the assembled guests. St. Augustine holds, they are different, as this anointing occurred at Galilee, probably, in Naim; the other, at Bethany, where our Lord stopped before His Passion. It is all but certain, that the woman who anointed our Blessed Lord on both occasions, was the same, viz., Mary Magdalen, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. (See Matthew 26:7, &c.) The approbation by the Church of this opinion, while ascribing the occurrence here recorded to Mary Magdalen, in the office of her festival, (July 22,) together with the words of our Lord, that wherever the Gospel would be preached, this woman’s act would render her celebrated, which is verified in regard to Magdalen, furnish a most powerful argument in favour of this opinion. (Jans. Gandav. c. 48.)

37. “Behold,” a wonderful example of penance.

“In the city,” where the Pharisee resided, probably Naim, mentioned immediately in the foregoing. “A sinner,” publicly noted for her immoral course of life. A sense of propriety would forbid her acting the part she did towards our Blessed Lord, save in public, and in the house of her friend, with whom she was manifestly on friendly terms. On having heard of our Lord being in the house of the Pharisee, she approached Him, not like others, who only sought for bodily cure, but in the spirit of true penance, to obtain the cure of her soul from Him, of whom, she heard it said, that He was “the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world.”

38. Standing,” may signify any posture. It means, simply, being there, in a kneeling or prostrate posture.

“Behind His feet.” She did not venture to come forward, from a deep sense of humiliation and shame. It may also be allusive to the mode in which the Orientals sat at table, reclining on couches, their head and face turned to the table, with their feet in an outward direction. It was by being behind Him, she could anoint His feet, which were exposed, the sandals being laid aside.

“To wash His feet with tears.” “Wash,” may mean, to bedew, moisten, so as to remove the dust that adhered to them. This shows her great sorrow for sin, and her deep penitential spirit.

“And wiped them with the hairs of her head,” shows, how she trampled all worldly vanity and self-love under foot, by soiling that portion of her person, viz., her hair, about which women in general are so solicitous. She probably made the decking out of her hair, the means of attracting others to commit sin. Now, she makes the same hair, the instrument of penance (Rom. 6:19). This was also a great mark of the profoundest reverence, it being customary with persons in exalted stations, of old, after washing their hands, to dry them on the flowing hair of some attendant slave.

“Kissed His feet,” in token of penitential love, and self-humiliation, and of desire of reconciliation and peace; a “kiss” being a sign of peace. Kissing one’s feet, a great proof of love and humility.

“And anointed them with ointment.” The ancients were wont to employ ointments, that is, odorous liquors, at their banquets, usually for anointing the head, so as to diffuse a fragrance all around. (Matthew 26; Psalm 22) It was generally applied by females (1 Kings 8:13). Hence, Magdalen fearlessly rushes into the house of her friend, for the purpose of performing this office towards our Blessed Lord, and of showing her love for Him. In this, she also gave proof of her faith in her Lord, His power to remit sin—a power granted to none of the prophets. Hence, she believed in Him as Man God. She displayed, in the plentiful effusion of her tears, a heroic, a penitential spirit. By anointing His feet, she displayed her great humility, as if unworthy to approach His head; though, it is held by some, that she anointed, not only His feet, of which there is mention here; but His head, also, of which the Evangelist here omits all mention.

39. “A prophet,” one sent from God, and gifted with knowledge of hidden and supernatural things.

In the foregoing we have an illustrious example of a truly humble penitential spirit. Here, we have an example of the supercilious arrogance of the Pharisee, who, instead of admiring the humility and penitential spirit displayed by the sinful woman, who shed such copious tears—a proof of her conversion and penitential spirit—in the midst of a festive scene, and ought to render thanks to God’s grace, which inspired it; on the contrary, haughtily sits in judgment on our Lord, and while he should praise His merciful clemency, in rejecting no one, however unworthy, questions His claims to be considered a prophet, and doubts His clear insight into hidden things, with which, it was supposed, He ought, as a prophet, to be gifted. In this the Pharisee displayed his ignorance; since it formed no part of a prophet’s gift to know all hidden things, save as far as it may please God to enlighten him; and He often conceals hidden things from His prophets (4 Kings 4:27). He also erred, in supposing, that if our Lord knew her to be a sinner, He would not allow her to touch Him, as if contact with a sinner would defile the soul, which was a gross error. For, even where contact with unclean objects was prohibited by law, it only regarded external bodily defilement (Levit. 14:15). Nay, the very fact of knowing her to be a sinner, was the reason why He, who came to save and rescue sinners, would mercifully attract her to Himself. The Pharisees themselves, brought to our Lord the adulterous woman (John 8:3).

“Who and what manner of woman she is that toucheth Him.” He did not censure the fact of her anointing Him—a thing usual at feasts—but His allowing her to touch Him, as if it would defile Him. “That she is a sinner,” well known, even notorious for her sinful, disorderly life.

40. Our Lord showed Simon, that He knew the character of the sinful woman in question, and still more, that He knew more than prophets in general ever know, viz., the inmost thoughts of man’s heart.

“Answering,” is a Hebrew form for beginning to speak without reference to any previous question; or, here it might mean, “answering,” the objection or rash judgment passing through the mind of the proud Pharisee. “Simon”—supposed by many to be the same as Simon the leper of Bethania, where Magdalen anointed our Lord’s feet six days before His Passion (v. 36). Likely, this Simon, touched with the penance and piety of Magdalen, who was clearly a friend of his, from her entering his house at dinner hour, may have transferred his abode from Galilee, to Judea, where she stopped with Martha and Lazarus.

“I have something to say to thee.” Our Lord, while reproving and correcting His host, does so in a very considerate way; thus sparing his feelings, by first presenting the case in the form of a parable. In this, He leaves to all in authority, when about to exercise the duty of correction, an example of consideration for the feelings of others.

41. “A certain creditor.” The Greek word (δανειστης) means, either a creditor a usurer, or, money lender. Here, it means a creditor; because the sum credited, as the application implies, was given gratuitously. “Five hundred,” “fifty,” denote sums of lesser and greater magnitude.

42. “He forgave them both,” a manifestly gratuitous act, without any claims to forgiveness on their part. This is particularly true of the application of the parable, as regards the remission of our sins, which is done gratuitously by God, without any claims on our part.

“Loveth him most,” or ought in duty, and was in gratitude bound, to exhibit greater marks of affection for his generous benefactor. Or, which of them showed the most affection, which induced the creditor gratuitously to forgive his debts? This is said in allusion to the conduct of Magdalen, and the intense affection displayed by her on the present occasion. It also implies, that a very large debt had been remitted to her by Him; and also, that being now fully cleansed from her sin, she was not the loathsome sinner, unworthy of approaching or touching the Son of God, which the proud Pharisee erroneously supposed her to be. The Greek is in the future, “shall love Him,” as if it referred to the manifestation of love subsequent to the remission of sin. Some understand it of the love manifested beforehand, which induced the creditor gratuitously to forgive; for, in the case of the remission of sin, love is one of the dispositions required in order that God may gratuitously remit it.

43. He to whom He forgave most,” should be more lavish of the manifestation of gratitude proportioned, in some measure, to the magnitude of the benefit conferred, of the debt remitted, or expected to be remitted.

“Thou hast judged rightly.” Our Lord approves of Simon’s judgment, and then applies it, as coming from Simon himself, to the present subject, of the affection shown by Magdalen to our Lord Himself, regarding which the Pharisee had previously judged erroneously.

44. “Turning to the woman,” who knelt behind His couch. Our Lord applies the similitude in the clearest and most delicate way. There is a striking antithesis between Simon’s not furnishing Him with common water, nor getting any of the domestics to wash His feet, and her washing His feet with her very tears, and wiping them with, what women prize most, the hairs which ornament their head.

45. Secondly, between Simon’s omission to give Him the ordinary kiss, the sign of friendship and peace, common among the Jews, and her kissing His feet; and that, not once, but repeatedly and unceasingly. “Hath not ceased to kiss My feet.” What a proof of humble love. She did this, from the moment she perceived Him to enter the house. She probably was there before Him.

46. Thirdly, between ordinary oil, and precious ointment, which she profusely poured on His sacred feet. It may be that, on this as well as on a later occasion, she anointed His head also, though St. Luke here makes no mention of it. Our Redeemer, by thus contrasting her services and pious offices with what Simon had done and omitted, wishes to convey to him, that he need not regard her as one to be shunned, and to be prohibited all contact with Himself; that, she had proved herself more deserving than the Pharisee himself, with whom, though less worthy than she was, our Lord did not disdain to come in contact; nay, even to become his guest, and familiar, and take food at his house.

47. “Therefore,” having given such proof of her intense, ardent love—on account of this—“I say to thee, Many sins are forgiven her”—for which she was indebted to me as creditor—“because”—like the debtor referred to in your judgment approved of by me—“she hath loved much.” Would not this seem to be the inverse of the conclusion of which the parable and the judgment of Simon were naturally suggestive, viz., that the debtors to whom a larger amount was remitted had, as a consequence of such remission, loved much, in gratitude for the favour bestowed by the creditor? For, the parable supposes the creditor to have remitted the debt, owing to the incapacity of the debtors to pay; and then, the question regards the gratitude due for such a favour. In truth, from the parable, would it not seem, that the manifestation of greater love was consequent on the remission of the greater debt; whereas, in our Redeemer’s conclusion, the inverse is inferred, viz., that the remission of the debt was consequent on the exhibition of sincere love, and, in some measure, caused by it? In the second instance, however, in regard to the debtor, who owed less, to whom less was remitted, we see that our Lord draws the conclusion naturally suggested by the parable. “But, to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less.” In order to solve this difficulty, caused by the apparent opposition between the parable and the conclusion derived from it, by our Redeemer, in the first part, regarding the greater debtor, some Expositors give “because,” “quoniam,” the meaning of, idcirco, quapropter, “on that account;” as if our Lord said, Many sins are forgiven her, “because, (or, therefore), she loveth much;” making the exhibition of love consequent on the remission of her sins; in this way, they solve the difficulty, and make the conclusion to accord perfectly with the parable. These say, the Greek word for quoniam, because—ὅτι—has frequently the meaning of, “therefore,” or “on that account,” in SS. Scripture. (John 8:29; 14:17, &c.) This interpretation disposes, at once, of the difficulty, and makes the conclusion to be perfectly in accordance with the parable and with the judgment of Simon, approved of by our Lord, which supposes that the person to whom a greater debt was remitted feels and manifests greater love, out of gratitude for the benefit received and in consideration thereof. In a word, that the exhibition of grateful love was consequent on the remission of a heavy debt gratuitously granted to Magdalen, when she had no claim on such remission. Speaking of this construction, which gives “quoniam” the meaning of idcirco, therefore, Calmet observes (in hunc locum), “ita omnes hujus loci ambages et antilogiæ solvuntur.”

The above construction, however convenient for solving the difficulty, is rejected by most Commentators, as a violent and unauthorized rendering of, ὄτι, in this passage. Hence, the Vulgate rendering, “because she loved much,” is the one more commonly adopted and approved of. According to this reading, the exhibition or manifestation of love precedes the remission to which it served, in some measure, as a cause. If the love referred to, be the perfect love of charity, perfecting Magdalen’s contrition and sorrow for sin; then, it obtained from God, the remission of her sins; because perfect charity, the perfect love of God above all things, remits sin; charity being the formal cause of justification, holding the same relation to justification that heat does to calefaction (Jans. Gandav. c. 48). If there be question of charity not so intense; then, it is one of the dispositions, or, essential conditions disposing us for justification. For, among the other conditions required as dispositions for justification, such as faith, hope, &c., a necessary condition on the part of sinners is, initial charity, that, “they begin to love God, as the fountain of all justice” (Con. Trid. ss. vi. c. vi.) Following the Vulgate rendering—“quoniam dilexit,” &c., to which the Greek, οὗ χαριν, “wherefore”—an inference drawn from the exhibition of love by Magdalen, preceding the remission granted to her—adds some degree of probability, and considering that Magdalen’s exhibition of love took place before she knew her sins were remitted,—for, it was afterwards our Lord assured her of it,—it may be said, that in these words, “quoniam dilexit,” &c., our Lord has regard, in the first place, to the great love and penitential spirit that animated Magdalen before she reached the banquet hall, and prompted these acts of penance and humility, which occasioned the rash judgment of Simon, and induced Him to grant her the abundant remission expressed here; and in the next place, He omits referring to her love perfected by the remission of her sins, and consequent on it. He refers to her love before the remission of her sins, as it was one of the dispositions for their remission, “quoniam dilexit multum,” and He omits all express allusion to the love she showed after their remission, as an expression of her gratitude, just as in the second member of the sentence, He speaks only of the lesser degree of love which followed the remission of a lesser debt, omitting all express allusion to the less intense love which preceded such remission, and which, as, initial charity, formed one of the essential conditions for securing it.

He omits all allusion to the love which followed the remission of the greater debt, expressing only that which preceded it, although, existing in both cases; in the former, as a cause; in the latter, as an effect, or, grateful recognition; to convey to us, that the remission of sin is differently effected from that of a pecuniary debt. In the latter case, love on the part of the debtor, does not ordinarily operate as a disposing cause, influencing the creditor; whereas, it is different, as regards the remission of sin, where love is one of the essential dispositions for obtaining it. Love is the cause of remission and its effect. Our Lord conveyed this in both sentences. The former in the remission of the larger debt, which it caused; the latter, in the remission of the lesser debt, as its result and grateful recognition. In inverting, as it were, the conclusion, and in the application of the parable, our Lord wishes to show, not only that Magdalen’s sins were remitted; and hence, that she was not the loathsome creature Simon judged her to be; but, He also wishes to show how her heavy sins were remitted.

“But, to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less.” Here, our Lord refers to the less degree and manifestation of love consequent on the remission of the lesser debt. In this, He refers to Simon, whose love was manifestly less intense than that of Magdalen; because he fancied, that our Lord had not much to remit in his case. The expression of gratitude was less demonstrative, as we see, every day, those who are released from a lesser amount of sin not so fervent or brimful of gratitude as those are, who obtained the forgiveness of very great and numerous sins.

Some maintain, that the words, “less is forgiven,” mean, “nothing is forgiven;” and that to Simon,—who, according to them, had been guilty of a grave sin of incredulity, “If this man were a prophet,” as also of rash judgment, in regard to the penitent woman,—nothing was remitted. “Loving less” means, not loving at all. (The Greek for “less,” in both cases, is—ολιγον—little.) According to them, our Lord uses the word, “less,” instead of nothing, in allusion to the opinion the haughty Pharisee had of his own comparative sinlessness, and also out of urbanity and consideration for the feelings of His host; for the same reason, He uses the third person. These also say, our Lord uses the latter sentence, as ornamental in the application of the second part of the parable relative to the lesser debtor, who owed only “fifty pence” (v. 41). Simon’s invitation did not, according to them, arise from any super-natural faith or love—essential conditions for the remission of sin. He did not invite our Lord in order to obtain the remission of his sins—the motive which influenced Magdalen to approach Him with faith and love. He did so, from human motives, seeing the high repute in which our Lord was held by the people.

48. “And He said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee.” Some Commentators are of opinion, that it was only after these words were uttered, Magdalen’s sins were remitted, and the words of verse 47, “Many sins are forgiven her,” verified, as much as to say: because these sins are to be immediately forgiven, as (in verse 48), I, by one continuous action, announce this, and actually forgive them (as in verse 48).

It seems, however, more probable, that the sins of Magdalen had been already forgiven, at the time our Lord declared this regarding her, owing to her perfect sorrow for sin, which embraced or included perfect love of God. The words (v. 47), “are forgiven,” are in the past tense in the Greek—αφεωνται—“have been forgiven,” and now (v. 48) our Lord Himself publicly and in the hearing of all, remitting her sins a second time, pronounces absolution over them. 1. To make her sure of the remission of her sins, and of her having obtained what she sought. 2. To indicate to the Pharisee that he rashly judged her. 3. To show He was God. We find it to be an approved practice at all times, to have absolution pronounced repeatedly for sins already confessed, and already remitted, whether by valid absolution or perfect contrition.

The Priest, in pronouncing absolution, in the Tribunal of Penance, for sins already remitted. “Ego te absolvo,” means, “Ego tibi confero et communico sanctitatem et gratiam ex se remissivam omnis culpæ.” St. Thomas (3 Part, Quæst. 84, Art. 3 ad 3); Suarez (Tom. 4 ad 3 Part, Disput. 19, Sectione 2, n. 15).

Hence, our Lord repeats the same a third time (v. 50), “Thy faith hath made thee safe.”

49. “They that sat at meat with Him,” His fellow guests, “began to say within themselves;” they durst not speak openly, for fear of being, like Simon, reprehended by our Lord. Instead of being touched with His great mercy and humanity, they only murmured within themselves and censured Him.

“Who is this that forgiveth sins also?” Who is not merely content with admitting a sinful woman into His presence, and with working miracles; but, arrogates the divine power of forgiving sins. Similar are the blasphemous murmurings referred to. (Matthew 9:3, &c.)

50. “Thy faith hath made thee safe.” Faith being one of the essential dispositions for justification, just as charity is assigned as the cause of Magdalen’s justification, as being another of the necessary dispositions. Faith is the primary disposition. It is “the foundation and root of justification” (Conc. Trid.)

“Go in peace,” free from all apprehension of punishment for your past sins, which are now fully remitted, both as to guilt and the punishment due to them. Peace and tranquillity of conscience are among the fruits of penance.

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