June 10, 2007
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Samuel 12:7-10,13; Psalm 32: 1-2,5,7,11; Galatians 2: 16, 190-21; Luke 7:36-50
Psalm Response " Lord, forgive the wrong I have done"
In our first reading, Nathan, King David's prophet, had just spoken a parable to David of a man and his only possession, his beloved lamb, whom the King coveted. Although King David had hundreds of lambs at his disposal, he wasn't satisfied until he had stolen the man's lamb and had killed its owner..
When David heard the story, he was outraged, demanding the life of the perpetrator of this horrific deed. So, Nathan then told David, " You are the man".
It was then Nathan interpreted the parable in plain words!
God had favored David with gifts aplenty with fortune and many wives. In spite of God's largesse, why would David seduce Uriah's wife, have Uriah killed by placing him in the front lines in battle and take Bathsheba as his own.
Recognizing the evil he had done,David repented of his sin,
God's response was instantaneous and David was completely forgiven.
This small snippet from Scripture prefigures the Sacrament of Penance and the belief in punishment due to sin.
Although God forgives our sin when we are truly sorrowful, there remains a punishing aspect which must be remitted before we are made pure enough to stand before the throne of God. We Catholics call it Purgatory. Although the punishment due to sin may be remitted before we die by acts of kindness and good works, and, our Church in its authority makes available much of the means of remittance by Indulgences! It better to avoid sin and the occasions of sin to insure our safe entrance into our heavenly abode, at our death.
Paul's letter to the Galatians points out the folly of "ergunamu", works of the Law. Our brothers and sisters in Christ, from other than Catholic traditions have been taught, belief in Christ, Faith, is the only requisite for salvation.
We agree!!! Through the Grace imparted to us through the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist.
"Works of the Law" consists of strict obedience to the commands, ordinances, decrees and rituals prescribed by the Torah! Thus the Galatians were being urged by Judaisers to be circumcised, go through the rituals of purification and like sacrificial acts required by Jewish Law.
Paul doesn't ostracize the intent of the Law but he instead emphasizes Christ's cross and resurrection as the real sacrifice for the sins we commit knowingly or inadvertently.
The Psalm response acknowledges our sinfulness and the mercy extended to the penitent.
We tend to sin and then ask for God's forgiveness. However, the last verse of the Psalm reading tells us the ideal, "Exult, all you upright of Heart!"
The familiar Gospel story continues the theme of forgiveness with repentance.
Christ doesn't countenance sin, in order to have grace abound, but His mercy encourages us to avoid sin.
The woman whose sorrow was evidenced by her copious tears and the use of them to wash Jesus' feet is a metaphor for regret. When He told her her many sins were forgiven, the others at table wondered,"Who is this Who even forgives sin". In reality, only Gos can forgive sin. However, Faith in God's ability and authority to forgive is the requisite for others to be able to absolve or retain.
The women who traveled with Christ and the Apostles would have been excoriated by the "holier than thou" general population. The people thought only female attendants associating with men, would be plying their trade of harlot and in spite of their holy intentions, they would be looked down upon as shady characters.
Our lesson is clesr, God forgives, makes clean and piurs out Hos Grace on the repentent no matter their former life!