Where would our faith be without rule breakers and sinners?  Today’s readings answer that question.   

Our first reading shows David to be the ultimate sinner. Murder, adultery, lust, greed…he had all the qualifications for a super villain. Yet, according to Nathan, God must have recognized something in David to make him a great leader. God saw his potential. 

Our second reading is from Paul, telling the Galatians that they can’t be saved by works alone but by faith in Jesus Christ. This from a man who persecuted Christians in his younger days. In those days Paul was living by a law that had no problem with his actions. As he says, he had to die to the law so he could live through Christ and Christ could live in him. Jesus saw Paul’s potential.

Then we have the “sinful woman” in today’s gospel who was reviled by the Pharisees—people who took pride in following the law to its letter. The Pharisees tested Jesus on matters of law every chance they could, but this woman saw God’s law in the person of Jesus. She also saw the potential for her salvation in him. The Pharisees saw in her an adulterer who broke into Simon’s house and splashed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair—disgusting actions, bordering on assault, even by today’s rule of law. But Jesus saw potential in this rule-breaking foot washer as one of his church’s greatest models of humility and repentance. 

Thank God for seeing potential in the worst sinners. Let’s pray we all share his vision of us and live up to it.