2 Samuel 12: 7-10, 13
Galatians 2: 16, 19-21
Luke 7: 36-8:3
We are now in liturgical season called Ordinary Time, and I think we can see a different tone in today’s Scripture readings. During the Easter Season, and on Pentecost Sunday, we see that the readings where full of hope, love, and peace. In today’s readings, we see that three letter word that makes all of us uncomfortable: …sin. My feeling is that the Church, after all the celebrations of Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi; when we all may be on a spiritual high; is giving us a reality check. Yes, we are Easter people; we do believe and follow our Risen Lord. But we are still human; we can still be tempted by sin.
I found several definitions of sin in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Sin ”is a failure in genuine love of God and neighbor causes by perverse attachment to certain goods.” (1849) “Sin is an offense against God…sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it.” (1850)
And we are all capable of committing sin; whether we are regular folks or among the bright, rich, and powerful. We see that illustrated in today’s readings. The first reading tells the story of King David. David, who was one of the key figures in the history of ancient Israel. God selected him to take over the throne of Israel from King Saul; had Solomon anoint him as King. The hand of God was over David, protecting him, making him a powerful leader. And after all that God had for him one would think David would acknowledge that, and obey God’s commandment. Instead he wanted more, he wanted Bathsheba. And he was willing to kill for her. God, through the prophet Nathan, brings David to account for himself, to acknowledge his sin.
In the Gospel, we read of a Pharisee, by the name of Simon, who invited Jesus to dinner. Now the Pharisees prided themselves on keeping the Law of Moses, even to the smallest passage of the Law. Yet, we read that he failed to extend hospitality to Jesus, which was required by Jewish custom of the times. And he looked at the sinful woman, who came in to wash and anoint Jesus’ feet, and did not feel compassion for her, but disgust. Jesus, very cleverly calls Simon to account for his sins.
Yet, today’s Scriptures are not primarily about sin; but it is revealing to us the great compassion of God. He is always ready to forgive us, no matter how great or small is the offense we may have committed. But we, like King David, and the sinful woman, need to humbly come before the Father, and acknowledge that we have faltered in following his Son, and that we need his forgiveness and his healing. It is for this reason that Jesus Christ gave us the Sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of Reconciliation. Through the words of absolution pronounced by the priest, we experience what that woman experienced, the forgiveness of the Father. And also, like that woman, we will experience the peace of Christ.
Yet, how many of us are willing to come to the sacrament of reconciliation; how many of us are denying ourselves this experience of the Father’s love. Perhaps we need, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to reflect on the current state of our lives, examine our relationship with the Father, our families, and neighbors. And know that whatever we realize about ourselves, our failures and sins, Jesus is there with us, ready to forgive us, ready to say, “Go in peace.”