Parable of the Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43)

This parable, which is found in the gospel of Saint Luke, is given by Jesus during a banquet at the home of a Pharisee. A woman has just made her entry, enthusiastically expressing her love for Jesus. Through this parable, Jesus praises the attitude of the woman who expresses her overflowing love. Many commentaries present this woman as Saint Mary Magdalene.

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The Parable of Two Debtors in the Gospel of Luke

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.

 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.

 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.

 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.

 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

(Luke 7:39-47)

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Responding to God’s infinite mercy

God's mercy is infinite and given freely to all, regardless of the weight of sin. In return, the Lord expects the recognition and love of man. This gospel presents overflowing love for Jesus from sinners. The expression of the woman’s enormous love pleases Jesus To make his host, the Pharisee Simon, understand how this effusion of love pleases him, Jesus chooses a parable. The Pharisee himself gives the conclusion: Man’s love for God is proportional to the grace received from him. Jesus highlights two very different attitudes: One cold and distant, the other may seem so expansive as to be indecent. But even overflowing love is never too much for Jesus, who loves man to infinity. Jesus looks at the heart and seeks the love of man corresponding to his love.


With Hozana, grow your love for Jesus!

Jesus expects a response to his love and infinite mercy from all of us. He looks at our hearts and sees the sincerity and intensity of our love for him. With Hozana, grow your love for Jesus and (re)discover his mercy.