Year C Sunday Gospel Reflections by John McKinnon

“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Today's Gospel passage falls naturally into two clear sections.

The Gospel does not state whether the woman was a prostitute – though she may well have been. She certainly seemed to be at ease with her own sexuality. However, it is possible that she carried the label of sinner for other social reasons.

In the culture of the time, the company people kept was important and, especially among Pharisees, the guests one shared meals with was highly significant. Etiquette also mattered greatly.

For a woman to touch a man uninvited, and then to let down her hair in public, was scandalous. Jesus obviously had no problems with her extravagant behaviour. The Pharisee at whose home it all happened was deeply embarrassed and hostile.

Jesus hastened to the woman's defence.

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Year C Sunday Gospel Reflections by John McKinnon

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John McKinnon is a priest of the diocese of Ballarat, Western Victoria, who studied for six years in Rome where he was ordained in 1957. On reaching the age of 75 in 2008, he retired from official parish work and has made himself available for other…


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John McKinnon is a priest of the diocese of Ballarat, Western Victoria, who studied for six years in Rome where he was ordained in 1957. On reaching the age of 75 in 2008, he retired from official parish work and has made himself available for other ministries in the diocese. During his life as priest he has been parish priest, Diocesan chaplain of the Young Christian Workers Movement, lectured at the Institute of Catholic Education in Ballarat, and worked at a national level in the ongoing education of priests. He has given retreats to priests in most of the dioceses of Australia, as well as to religious and laity. Of recent years, he has been drawn on to give regular spiritual support to priests, religious and laity, particularly in the more isolated areas of his diocese.

John said: "My aim in these talks is to provide background for people who wish to reflect on the Sunday Gospels in the light of their own personal experience and to apply them to their lives. I shall examine each text, seeking to explain details that may not be familiar, and trying to determine the particular nuances of Jesus' message that the author of the gospel wished to emphasise. I shall conclude each talk with three questions that may help people's personal reflection and application of the Gospel's message."

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