I have already shared this story to you before but it’s worth repeating. I am not sure if it really happened or not, but it’s definitely something to keep us thinking. A story is told of a woman who upon arriving on board the plane and upon seeing the ‘black man’ sitting next to her, got so upset that she called on to the flight attendant. “What’s the problem, madam?” the hostess asked her. “Can’t you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t seat here next to him. You have to change my seat” – “Please, calm down, madam” – said the hostess. “Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I’m still going to check if we have any.” The hostess left and returned some minutes later. “Madam, as I told you, there isn’t any empty seat in this class- economy class. But I spoke to the captain. He confirmed that there is no more vacancy in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class. Besides it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the captain thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger sitting next to an unpleasant person.” And turning to the black man, the hostess said: “Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have a seat for you in the first class…”
The story finished with ‘the other passengers standing up and applauded the man.’
I really liked this story because it reminds us of our human tendency to judge the book by its cover, in this case to judge the person by his skin colour. As the story warns us, if we insist on our own judgement or criticism of others on how they appear to us, we might end up being shamed and embarrassed. Thanks be to Jesus, who showed us that there is more to the person than just the appearance. Today’s gospel tells us of the amazing encounter between Jesus and a woman with a bit of a reputation according to some people who would have known her quite personally. They thought, if Jesus would only know about her, he would have been put off. But no, Jesus knew her heart. She came to Jesus with her past life but now ready to live at the present moment—to celebrate the love, the forgiveness, the ‘one more chance’ that God gave her in Jesus. So she took the courage to gate-crash the party to show Jesus how much she felt loved, accepted and forgiven. Every day Jesus gives us the opportunity to come to him with all that we are. Like the woman, He is ready to accommodate us, to love us, to forgive us. We just have to make an effort to come to Him humbly, sincerely and lovingly.
I pray you all have a blessed week.
I pray you have a grace-filled week.