So in the Gospel Jesus accepts an invitation to dinner: something He did with regularity apparently, and one of the very few ways that I personally excel in imitating Jesus. But inviting Jesus into your home or into your heart always is fraught with risk. He can be upsetting.
At dinner Jesus does an odd thing. It says simply “Then he (Jesus) turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?” Jesus points Himself in two directions, Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman. Jesus is making a connection. That is what Jesus does, He connects us to others and to God. That is always risky.
“Do you see this woman?” This woman, this particular, individual person?
And the answer is No. No. Simon doesn’t see the woman. He is totally oblivious. All Simon sees is a “sinner”. Simon has reduced her to some sort of type, based on one piece of information about her. But that is never the totality of a person. So Simon doesn’t see this woman, only a “sinner”.
Jesus is challenging Simon to see broader, farther, deeper, more completely. “Do you see this woman?” //
It is a challenge Jesus gives to every one of us. Do you see this woman, or this man, or this child, or this person?
Maybe instead what we see is a bum, or a street-person, or a loud mouthed bigot, or a gay person, or a pan-handler, or an illegal immigrant, or a redneck, or a drunk or drug-addict, or a rotten driver, or a foreigner, or a black, or an Asian, or a honky, or whatever.
Over and over again Jesus asks us; “Do you see this person?” This person?
Simon the Pharisee was blind. He thought he was fine. He was righteous. He was upright. He was a leader in the community and well respected. He was well off enough to invite Jesus to dine in his home. But still, Simon was blind. And the real tragedy is that Simon did not even know it.
Jesus asks him a very important and penetrating question. “Do you see this woman?” Jesus asks you and me the same.