Theme: THE LORD FORGIVES US OUR SINS
- 2 Samuel 12:7-10. 13;
- Psalm 31 (32): 1-2. 5. 7. 11. R/ cf. v. 5;
- Galatians 2:16. 19-21
- Luke 7:36-50 (Shorter Form)
Today is the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical year C. The readings today tell us that the Lord forgives us our sins.
The gospel today tells us that the sinful woman loved much because much had been forgiven her, but Simon the Pharisee loved little because little had been forgiven him! The gospel today tells us that those who experienced much the love and forgiveness of God will love and forgive much, but those who experienced little the love and forgiveness of God will love and forgive little!
More importantly, the gospel tells us that we experience the love and forgiveness of God through faith! It is through faith that we experience the love and forgiveness of God and that is why it is through faith that we are saved. And that is why the gospel ends by telling us that we are saved through faith! Thus the gospel ends:
“But Jesus said to the woman ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” (Lk 7:50; SM)
Faith not in a God of law and punishment, but faith in a God of love and forgiveness, that is, faith in the God of Jesus Christ!
Indeed the second reading tells us that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ and not by the good works of the Law! Thus we read in the second reading which is “the gospel as preached by Paul” (New Jerusalem Bible; International Bible Commentary):
“We acknowledge that what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the Law, but faith in Jesus Christ. We had to become believers in Christ Jesus no less than you had, and now we hold that faith in Christ rather than fidelity to the Law is what justifies us, and that no one can be justified by keeping the Law. …. The life I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake. I cannot bring myself to give up God’s gift: if the Law can justify us, there is no point in the death of Christ.” (Ga 2:16. 20-21; SM)
The first reading tells us that the Lord forgave the sins of King David! King David committed two of the biggest sins, that is, the sins of murder and adultery, that is, he killed someone’s husband in order to take someone’s wife. But more importantly, the first reading tells us that King David repented and confessed his sins and the Lord forgave his sins! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord the God of Israel says this, “You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, taken his wife for your own, and killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die.’” (2 Sam 12:9. 13; SM)
Note that like the Catholic priest, Nathan is the “father confessor” of David! (Fuller)
The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for forgiveness. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1-2) tells us that the forgiven are blessed. The second and third stanzas (vv. 5 & 7) tell us that the psalmist is open to the forgiving God. And the fourth stanza (v. 11) tells us that the just and the upright are joyful and happy. (CSB)
But more importantly, the second stanza (v. 5) tells us that if we confess our sins to the Lord, the Lord will forgive our sins! Thus the second stanza:
“But now I have acknowledged my sins: my guilt I did not hide. I said: ‘I will confess my offence to the Lord.’ And you, Lord, have forgiven the guilt of my sin.” (Ps 31 (32):5; SM)
And thus the response which is taken from the second stanza:
“Forgive, Lord, the guilt of my sin.” (Ps 31 (32):5; SM)
Today, we continue to confess our sins to the Lord and the Lord continues to forgive our sins, especially in the sacrament of “confession”, “penance” or “reconciliation”! Thus the formula of absolution which the priest says after we have confessed our sins and received our penance:
“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.”
And we answer:
Note that the Father is first, the Son is second, the Holy Spirit is third, the Church is fourth, and the Priest is fifth (last), that is, the Priest absolves our sins not on his own authority, but on the authority of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Church! “Amen” is a faith response!
Today, we thank God for forgiving our sins, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Reconciliation; and we ask God to help us to forgive the sins of others as the Lord has forgiven our sins! And this we do in “The Lord’s Prayer”, the “Our Father”! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.