When a runner completes the kilometre Spartathlon he or she earns a rare privilege. And the sight of Leonidas, the statue of the great Spartan king, looking proudly, sternly and defiantly in the direction of Thermopylae, the site of his glorious last stand. Some runners bound effortlessly up the steps towards the statue, others shuffle steadily towards the great prize. Their name is called out, a young Spartan woman steps forward to present them with an olive wreath for their head and a bowl of cool sacred spring water. But first they pay homage. This is the moment of truth, when the pain and effort not just of the last two days pays off but of the last few months or even years of dedication and training.
In the latest alleged example of royalty from the Gulf kingdom abusing overseas staff in France, the unnamed multi-millionaire is said to have attacked the worker in the French capital earlier this summer. He had arrived at the property in Avenue Foch, a hugely prestigious road that runs off the Arc de Triomphe, to carry out some basic decorating. But when the Princess saw the workman taking photographs on his smart phone camera — something decorators do routinely nowadays — she is said to have accused him of preparing to sell them to the media. She allegedly then ordered her bodyguards to beat him up, tied his hands and feet together, and then made him kiss her feet. Le Point said he then made a report to the police, showing them bruises on his head, which he said were caused by the attack.
In various media, characters kissing someone's hand is used sometimes for romance, and other times to show humility. Sometimes, though, it's not the hand they kiss, but they aim much lower Get your mind out of the gutter!
Three weeks ago, on the 11th Sunday of ordinary time, we heard the story of a woman who approached Jesus at the home of a leading Pharisee who had invited Him to dinner. Most of us know the story well. Knowing his thoughts, Jesus told a parable about a creditor who forgave the debts of two persons, one a large and another a smaller amount. Just days after this gospel was read, in all of the Catholic churches throughout the world, a woman employed as a stripper outside the Diocese of Lincoln decided to travel to Lincoln to party with some friends. As you can imagine, the alcohol was flowing and once the word spread to the young men hanging around what her profession was, one decided to take advantage of her.