Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time June 12, 2016
Reading 1 2 Sm 12:7-10, 13
Responsorial Psalm Ps 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
R Lord, forgive the wrong I have done. Reading 2 Gal 2:16, 19-21
- Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Lk 7:36—8:3
Homily— June 11 & 12
Sometimes we are not aware of our sins or maybe we are aware of them but we try to ignore them, deny them, or hide them. Perhaps as we grow in our relationship to Jesus Christ we may find ourselves full of sorrow for a sin of the past and have a real regret for what we have done.
David in the first reading is the one who as king took the wife of one of his soldiers while he, Uriah, was defending the kingdom. He tried to cover up his sin first by calling Uriah home then by sending him into battle where his life would be in jeopardy and he was killed. Nathan is sent by the Lord to David and he said: “Judge this case for me! In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor. The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers.But the poor man had nothing at all except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children. She shared the little food he had and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom. She was like a daughter to him. Now, the rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks and herds to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him. Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and made a meal of it for his visitor. David grew very angry with that man and said to Nathan; ‘as the Lord lives, the man who has done this merits death! He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold because he has done this and has had no pity.’
Then Nathan said to David: ‘you are that man.’
Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’
Nathan answered David: ‘The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.”
I am thankful that David could now recognize his sin and be filled with contrition. His sins were adultery, murder, deception, and infidelity. It is only appropriate that we move from the first reading to Psalm 32 which refers to confession and forgiveness.
The second reading points out that we are not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not in following rules that we get to heaven but it is through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The woman in the gospel crashes the dinner party of Simon the Pharisee! Simon says “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Simon judges her to be a sinner but does not consider himself a sinner.
Jesus’ lavish acceptance of the woman known as a sinner is essential for each of us because everyone, Simon included, is a sinner. If Jesus were to reach out only to the people who were worthy of God’s forgiveness, no one would find an outstretched hand. No matter how worthy we consider ourselves, God sees all of us as we are and is aware of our great need for forgiveness. To be forgiven is to acknowledge our own sin, not that of someone else.
Repenting of our sins, though, is the beginning of the process of being Jesus’ disciple, not the end. Frustrating as it is, even in the light of God’s great forgiveness, we all remain sinners.
Jesus tells all of us to go “and from now on do not sin again”(Jn 8:11), as he told the woman accused of adultery, but we do sin again. As a result of our stumbling along the way, we must cultivate the same constant, searching need to recognize Jesus as the one to whom we must always turn, the one who gained us salvation from the sin that lurks and stalks us, the one who offers forgiveness from the depth of God's mercy.
God is never done with us, though we might sometimes feel done with ourselves, especially when “in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners.” Faith in Christ is not a one-time event, however, but a sustained growing in holiness. The Christian life is marked not just by sinful stumbling along the way but by getting up, dusting ourselves off and walking home to Christ as often as we need to repent. Personally I prefer to go to confession every four to six weeks but there is probably material to confess every day. And when we walk into the house to encounter Jesus, we receive the same acceptance that the sinful woman did: a welcome home May we be as appreciative of forgiveness as the woman who washes Jesus feet with her tears and dries them with her hair and anoints them with precious oil In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.