2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Galatians 2:16, 19-21
While celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, I like to remind the penitent of Proverbs 24:16…"The just one falls seven times (daily) and rises again." Sometimes, we can become so "caught up" with our sinfulness, that we forget or disregard the mercy of God. What a fine line the Church and each local community, each family and each person must walk in warning strictly against sin and yet clutching the sinner back for Jesus.
King David, that man of extraordinary talents, the writer of so many of our Psalms, the one who danced before the Ark of God with abandon, was pointed out as a public sinner…guilty of adultery, murder, deception and infidelity. Yet even with Nathan’s tongue-lashing, all David said was: " I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan assured him of God’s forgiveness, just as we hear God’s forgiveness pronounced in the penitential rite at Mass or in the sacrament of reconciliation.
In the Gospel, we hear the familiar story of "the woman known as a sinner". She and Simon the Pharisee make good foils for our contemplation. The great commentator Barclay comments on Simon: "Most likely, Simon was a collector of celebrities; and with a half-patronising contempt he had invited this startling young Galilean to have a meal with him." As the guest of honor, Jesus would have been more than ready to engage whoever came to him with question, concern or tearful request. The repentant woman stands in for all of us, with whatever sins we are aware of in our lives. We perhaps cry over forgiven sins or over a pattern of sinfulness that is broken by God’s grace. We stand, not in judgment over sinful humanity, but one in solidarity with the human family. A couple of thought provokers: A) With the environmental sin of the Gulf oil disaster before us, do I own my part in this because I too have desired cheap fuel over the safety of workers, the good of the earth? B) Do I share with others, at least in a general way, how the Lord’s forgiveness of my (our) sins has set me (us) free?
HAPPY THE ONE WHOSE FAULT IS TAKEN AWAY, WHOSE SIN IS COVERED.
Fr. Bob Bovenzi is resides at the Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.