The story of the sinful woman (Luke 7) takes place 2000 years ago. A dinner at the home of an influential member of the community who is hosting Jesus. Many scholars believe it is a set-up, the assembled want to prove that this Jesus is no prophet and that he is willing to associate with the worst of the worst. He confronts them and challenges them with a parable and to their horror he then forgives the sinful woman.
This week we explore the themes of contrition, forgiveness and reconciliation. Three of the cornerstones of Christianity.
How would we as modern day Christians react if the scene in the gospel was transformed and took place in our own our church. Imagine if you were gathering to help the female victims of a horrible abuse of trust? Imagine Jesus is standing at the front your Church and up the aisle comes a small broken man- everyone in attendance knows who he is and he is despised by all present as the worst of the worst- he is the abuser.
Many wonder if Jesus has read the newspaper account of his trial:
‘Guilty’ 47 Times
Rev. Charles Sylvestre Admits to Decades of Sexual Abuse Involving 47 Girls – Many Still Suffering
By Jane Sims
London Free Press [Canada]
August 4, 2006
Chatham — He wore his priest’s collar to win trust and respect in Roman Catholic parishes across the region.
The collar gave him an exalted place in the communities. The collar, many believed, also meant he was just a step away from God.
Yesterday, Charles Henry Sylvestre, 83, of Belle River, was wearing the collar again — but this time in a criminal court, under the watchful eyes of his 47 sexual abuse victims.
Balancing himself against the table beside his lawyer, Andrew Bradie of Windsor, Sylvestre stood for 25 minutes as the court clerk read out the 47 counts of indecent assault.
“Guilty,” the 83-year-old said feebly, after each charge was read. Behind him in the packed courtroom, women dabbed their eyes.