THEME: YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN
READINGS: 2 Sam. 12:7-10, 13/ Gal.2:16, 19-21/ Luke 7:36-8:3
11th Sunday in Ordinary time
The repentant King David is forgiven of his series of terrible sins (first reading) and a repentant well-known sinner (most likely a prostitute) hears some soul-relieving words from Jesus: ‘Your sins are forgiven’ (Luke 7:48, gospel reading). Therefore, to anyone who truly repents of his/her sins and sincerely confesses them, Jesus says: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
King David committed a series of abominable sins: adultery with the wife of Uriah, who was in the battlefield fighting for his king and country; the murder of Uriah; marriage with the wife of the man he had murdered; and above all the great ingratitude shown to God who had elevated the ordinary shepherd David to the status of King of Israel and had promised him an everlasting kingdom (cf. 2 Sam. 7:8-17). The least sentence that an earthly court of justice would have given to David was life imprisonment. Yet when he pleaded forgiveness, the Lord God did not only forgive all his sins, but sustained His promise of establishing a lasting dynasty for him. What is more? Whereas David had imagined a lasting earthly kingdom, the Lord God offered him something unimaginable: the very Son of God would become the Son of David, and in this way the kingdom of David would have a heavenly touch and an eternal dimension!
Beloved God’s mercy towards David was more than cancelling the debt of a debtor and giving him/her more grants [gratis]. Beloved if even before Jesus Christ shed His blood to atone for sins, God could be so merciful towards David, then what sin is beyond God’s mercy and forgiveness now that the precious blood of His Son has been shed?
In case someone is still thinking that his/her sin is too abominable to be forgiven by God, let me stress the above point in another way: if the Son of God became man – if the Son of God journey from heaven to earth – only to forgive certain sins, then one could say that the divine ‘effort’ was not worthwhile. But the truth is that He came to die for us so that whosoever believes in God and sincerely repents and confesses will be forgiven of whatever sins he/she might have committed. Indeed, beloved, all past, present and future sins of mankind put together amount to nothing before the ineffable mercy of God! As He did for David, God is not only forgiving us, He will fulfil His promise of making us enjoy the everlasting kingdom in heaven.
Beloved if believing in God, trusting in His mercy, sincerely repenting and confessing brings us His forgiveness then let us take the practical steps to enjoy this blessing. Here I would like to use today’s gospel story to suggest the practical steps:
- The repentant woman approached Jesus with a flask of expensive fragrant ointment: faith is the priceless perfume we should go to Jesus with. Sin makes us emit bad spiritual odour, but faith makes our souls smell sweet in the presence of the merciful Lord.
- The woman approach the feet of Jesus: we should likewise approach Jesus in humility, with the feeling of unworthiness.
- The woman wept: we should be truly contrite for our sins.
- She washed the feet of Jesus with her tears: we should drop not our physical tears but our sins at the feet of the crucified Christ; that is, we should sincerely confess our sins.
- She wiped the feet of the Lord with her hair: In our case, Jesus rather wipes the sins we have dropped on his feet.
- She kissed the feet of Jesus: Beginning with our acts of penance, let us demonstrate love for Him who wipes away our sins.
- She anointed the feet of Jesus with the perfume: May the priceless perfume of our faith overflow in our daily lives in appreciation of the love, mercy and forgiveness of God! Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis