Thursday, July 21, 2016

Homily[2] 17th Sunday of Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily[2] 17th Sunday of Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·       Genesis 18:20-32
·       Psalm 138:1-3,6-7,7-8
·       Colossians 2:12-14
·       Luke 11:1-13

God’s Mercy; Persistence in Prayer,

Today, and in this Year of Mercy, we celebrate once again God’s Mercy and the need to constantly praise God, worship him, and petition him for our needs, pray for one another: our nations, our churches, families and friends. This need is evidence in today’s Bible Readings.

In the 1st reading (Genesis 18:20-32), we find Abraham, our father in faith, one of Israel’s “earliest prophet”(Gen 20:7) interceding, persistently for the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  In response to his intercession God shows that he is not only merciful, forgiving, and kind to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah but also because of lives of a few tens of innocent, prayerful people in these communities. This is true of us. You never know how far your prayers, those rosaries we say, those masses we attend—how far your holiness of life and goodness has contributed in the blessings of God upon our sinful lands and families.
As Pope Francis would remind us when he kicked off in this Year of Mercy, Christ Jesus (in our NT time) is the face of the God of Abraham, the Father of Mercy. Christ went to the Cross on our behalf. This is why Saint Paul says in the 2nd reading (Col 2:12-14) that even though we were sinners, through Christ’ passion, and intercessions, we, like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have been saved!

It is through Christ that we offer our prayers to God the Father. A persistent, short, sweet prayer of praise, worship, lamentation, and thanksgiving for all that God has done for us: the life he provides, the air, mountains, seas, food, clothing, nations and families. Through this Christ should be our request to God, to always do his will and petition for what we need and lack in life- forgiveness of sins, and blessings upon our land.
This is exemplified in the today’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-13) the Lord’s Prayer which we recite at every Mass.  We mastered this prayer by heart, when we were preparing for our various sacraments. In this prayer, Christ teaches us how to pray. He reminds us that prayer is a relationship, a communication, a dialogue with God. It requires the intimacy that we find in a child parents relationship. And must be done with the consistency we saw in Abraham, who interceded for the cities Sodom and Gomorrah.  This is the meaning of “seek and you will find, knock and he door will be opened.” Do we value prayer? Do we pray? When and how?  What and whom do we pray for? These are some of the questions we may ask ourselves as we reflect on today’s scriptures.

We may have had our set-backs (like Job, Habakkuk, Sarah, Hanah, Abraham Lincoln etc.…) disappointments, threats, failures, loss of our loved ones in life, we must not give up in prayers. Never Give Up! Prayer is essential for every Christian. Prayer to our merciful God is essential for family members, friends, and elected officials. Prayer for ourselves, the church, the sick, the deceased, sinners, sick nations like Sodom and Gomorrah and for our friends and children.



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Homily [2] 16th Sunday Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily [2] 16th Sunday Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·        Gen 18:1-10a
·        Ps 15:2-3,3-5
·        Col 1:24-28
·        Luke 10:38-42

Listening and Serving the Lord in our Neighbors
 As we worship today, as we listen to the Bible readings of today, the first reading, the second reading, the Psalms and the Gospel of Luke, what stands out for you? Hospitality or sitting at the feet of Jesus? Is there anything we could learn from Abraham, Sarah, or Saint Paul? What would you consider more important: service to your neighbor or spending some time, perhaps hours, with the Lord, before the Blessed Sacraments, daily? Hearing not doing, or doing not hearing? What seems to stand out for me are both? That is, we need the listening Mary and the busy Martha. We need the contemplatives, and the non-contemplatives. We cannot put the word of God into practice, without listening, reflecting on it, or understanding what the Lord wants us to do or where to go. We need both, hospitality and listening to the Lord.  Perhaps, we also need to have some priorities set in our lives, to be better listeners and doers of the word of God.
I am thinking this way, because in the first reading (Gen 18:1-10a) we witness how Abraham and his wife Sarah offer hospitality to three unknown strangers who turn out to be angels. As a result Abraham and Sarah were blessed and were rewarded. They had a son, Isaac, together, in their old age.  Of course, ancient people, Jews and Christian always believed that the best way to serve God was to be hospitable to our neighbors. Remember, last Sunday, we learn about who our neighbor is, in the parable of the Good Samaritan(Luke 10:25-37). The way we treat one another, might end up been the way we might have responded to God!

In the Second reading, Saint Paul acknowledges himself as God’s steward chosen to preach the gospel and reveal the mystery of Christ to everyone, Jews and Gentiles (Col 1:24-28). He also invites all of us, Christians, to dispose ourselves, receive and share hospitably the mysteries of Christ. There should be no barriers in sharing the love and the mercy of Christ with others.

In the Gospel, Martha welcomes Jesus and runs around preparing dinner for him, while her sister, Mary spent her time sitting, talking, chatting and listening to Jesus. Martha, as any of us would, complains. She thinks Mary who was not helping her was burning her out. The more reason, I ask in the beginning which one is more important. Who is more important, Mary or Martha? It’s challenging. Isn’t it?

Granted that in our various professions, doctors, teachers, professors, parents, priests, chefs, factory workers, military, police officers etc; we are all serving our nations and our neighbors. But we also need at some point to make time to recharge our spiritual energies. This could come in form of daily masses, personal prayer, retreats, saying the rosary, lectio divina- meditative reading of the scriptures or taking part at family prayers. Not always work, work; work!

On the other hand we need the Marthas in our homes, communities, churches and nations. We need people who can get the job done. Our nations, our parishes needs dynamic parishioners, men and women, boys and girls who are generous, and who belong to various groups, the knights, pastoral councils, the choir , the women and youths organization to get things done. We need both the “listening Marys and the serving Marthas.”
I have mentioned listening here many times.  We live today in a world that is not only noisy with sounds, TV, radio, all forms of music and fireworks, but we are isolated from one another because of cell phones and ipads. Sometimes these things makes is difficult for us to listen to our spouses, our children, and seniors, our parishioners, and our parents.

No matter how active we may be, in our works and services, we need to set our priorities right, find the time, no matter how short, to listen to God and to one another. And this must be the basis of what we charitably do and how we relate and treat one another. As we participate in this Holy Eucharist today, may be nourished with the spirit of hospitality and service, as well as with the zeal to be better listeners and doers of the word of God.




Friday, July 8, 2016

Homily [2]15th Sunday Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily [2]15th Sunday Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo
·        Deut 30:10-14;
·        Ps 69:14,17,30-34,36-37;or Ps 19:8-11;
·        Col 1:15-20
·        Luke 10:25-37.

Loving God in our Neighbors!

 In today’s Gospel reading (Luke 10:25-37) there is this great scholar, a scribe, a professor of the law who wants to know what he must do in order to inherit the kingdom of God. What must I do to inherit the kingdom of God? The answer which Jesus led him to- is central to the bible lessons of today namely, that loving God (with all our heart, mind and soul) as well as our neighbors as we would have truly loved ourselves! Moreover, we gain eternal life by loving God whom we encounter not only in the sacraments, in the Holy Eucharist, in the songs we sing this day, in the scriptures, but more importantly in how we visibly treat one another. Somebody sitting by your side. Somebody who needs help. Somebody, that man, that woman, that child we meet on our way- is my neighbor!

Deuteronomy 30:10-14, the first reading, which is generally a humanitarian sermon preached by Moses, on mount Nebo, tells us that this law, the love of God and our neighbor is written in our hearts. It is apriori. It is self-evidence. It is divine. It is written in our hearts.  One does not need a college or a university degree to learn how to love, how to be merciful, how to be respectful, how to be compassionate to our next door neighbor, or somebody we meet in the train, in the school, in the work place, or in our churches.

Besides what is written in our hearts, which Moses, reminded Israel of his time of,... Saint Paul, in the second reading (Col 1:15-20) reminds the Colossians, by implication, each of us, that just as Jesus Christ is the “visible image of the invisible God,” so our neighbors (rich and poor, tall and short, white and black, brown and yellow, heavy and slim, young and old, male and female, boy and girl, Jews and Gentiles, N-S, E-W), are the visible image of Christ living in our midst. God speaks to us in our hearts. He speaks to us through Christ and through our neighbors.

This is what we mean when we sing that Matthew 25 "whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren so you do unto me..?" And this is truly what Jesus meant by telling that scribe, that professor of the law- the gospel parable of today, that familiar and popular parable of the Good Samaritan.  In that parable, the Good Samaritan, unlike the other two uncharitable religious leaders (priest and Levi) went to the assistance of the man who was almost beaten to dead, and abandoned with fatal wounds, on the Jerusalem-Jericho road. What a beautiful way of reminding us that we can only truly say we love God by loving our neighbors, by behaving like the Good Samaritan- who responded with mercy and compassion to this robber’s victim.

It is true that no single person can solve all the world’s problems in all the continents: the poverty, the racism, the gun violence, the selfishness, the decline in Christian parenting, and the “you are on your own attitude.” Neither is God asking us to board a plane from (JFK etc)…. now to Jerusalem-Jericho road in Palestine to assist the robber victim. Not Necessarily! Rather, as believers, there is another road from Jerusalem to Jericho that passes right through our homes, parishes, our streets, our home towns, our neighborhoods, dioceses, schools, and work places. In these roads, there may be some spouses, children or parents lying emotionally wounded in our homes, due to one form of abuse, insults, violent or another!  There may be a brother or a sister living nearby, sitting nearby, living next door who has special needs that we can meet. It could be a simple greeting or a smile! It could be a simple looking into their eyes, saying, hello!

Finally, the Good Samaritan challenges us today, especially in this Year of Mercy, to be open-minded to everyone, to be charitable, to be compassionate, to be forgiving, to be down to earth, to be approachable, to be available, to be loving, to be merciful to our neighbors, those in need, the church in need, that town in need, or to people of all walks of life- irrespective of color, height, race, culture and religion!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Homily[2] 14th Sunday of Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily[2] 14th Sunday of Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo
·       Isa 66:10-14c;
·        Ps 66:1-3, 4-7, 16, 20;
·        Gal 6:14-18
·       Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

 We Are Called to Share the Good News of Peace, Joy and Mercy

 Today we celebrate a merciful and inclusive God, manifested in Christ Jesus; and in each of us, and in daily events. He calls us today as his disciples. All of us, the new 72 disciples to go out and share the Good News of the Kingdom of God- basileou tou theou. That is the divine message of peace, joy, mercy, bearing our crosses patiently, forgiveness and prosperity- as missionaries and evangelizers!

Granted that, we have a long history of travelling with our God, the God of Israel, the God  of our Fathers, who assists us in our challenges, we live today in a world of Orlando shooting. A world that experiences the breakdown of family and Christian values, the Brixit vote, the Syria Isis, the Nigerian Boko haram, the Istanbul, Paris, and Brussels’ attacks, the world of the 2016 UEFA and COPPA America tournaments, the Era of Trump vs. Hilary- is the message of the kingdom of God still relevant? How do we as Christians today, in a New Jerusalem, with increase in vocations, priesthood and religious life, respond to the challenges we face? What do we make of the Bible lessons of today?

As noted in the first reading (Isa 66:10-14c) when the Israelites left Babylon and Persia, around 400 BC, and travelled back home to rebuild their torn Jerusalem, they were met with their own challenges of a deeply divided community between the rich and the poor, injustices, rivalry, power politics, despair, and hopelessness; Something that might still be lingering around in our modern society today.

This is where today’s message of the prophet Isaiah makes sense. It is a message of hope and God’s generous response to us, the New Jerusalem. Isaiah says, “Rejoice Jerusalem…I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nation like an overflowing torrent…As a mother comfort her child, so will he comfort you.”

 In traveling or missioning to this same Jerusalem and beyond Christ deployed not only the
Twelve (Luke 9), but the 72 in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-12, 17-22). He instructed them of
what was important on the journey? No heavy bags of money, sacks of shoes, nor power, but
rather,  they must carry with them God’s peace, shalom, joy and divine mercy.
They were to cure the sick in his name and to announce the kingdom of God. They were asked to
 preach to everyone, saints and sinner, male and female, young and old, Jews and Gentiles- since
the Goodness was intended  for people of all cultures, race and nationalities, the poor and the rich.

The 72 were to do this with great kindness, humility of life style and ultimate love, exemplified on
 the Cross of Christ, which Saint Paul is so proud of in today’s 2nd reading(Gal 6:14-18).
 Paul says, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the
World has been crucified to me..." For the 72 what was necessary was invoking the name of
Jesus, what he has done for us, what he will continue to do for us.

 In those moment we feel lost, hopeless, helpless, terrorized or dried up on our Christian pilgrimage, today, let us count ourselves among the 72 disciples, the remnant Israel, and pilgrims who rely on God’s promises of peace and prosperity that “he will spread prosperity over us and our families like a like a river, and the wealth of our nations like an overflowing stream.

Therefore, if God has blessed us with peace and prosperity, we want to go out there in the manner of the 72 disciples of today’s Gospel: joyful, selfless, inclusive, peaceful, merciful, generous, humble, forgiving, and be bearers of that peace and conduits of God's prosperity to our neighbors.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Homily [2] 13th Sunday of the Year C: Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily [2] 13th Sunday of the Year C: Michael Ufok Udoekpo

·         1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21;
·         Psalm  16:1-2,5-11;
·          Gal 5:1,13-18
·         Luke 9:51-62

Following Jesus, freely and Completely

 Our relationship with God is a relationship of faith. It is a journey of faith that requires free will response, resoluteness and determination in following (akoloutheo) Christ.  This  determination and resoluteness is also translated into how we listen to God, his precepts. How we response to daily events in the modern world, and how we also relate with our neighbors in the midst of our daily challenges matters. In this last weekend (of June 2016) we woke up to hear that Great Britain is exiting from the European Union after about 40 years. And the world is panicking at least politically and economically. How does this affect our faith in God and how we follow (akoloutheo) Christ?  Usually, there is a sacrifice involved in this- I mean following Christ, listening to him, serving him. What have you left to follow Christ?

 In the first reading of today Elisha left everything and followed the Prophet Elijah in his mission of love, care for the poor, the sick and the widows. Elijah was also a proponent for worship of God alone. To accompany Elijah on this mission, Elisha left everything including his oxen, father and mother- total abandonment.

We see this total abandonment in Christ's mission. His mission was not only to baptize, to help, to cure diseases, but also to love everyone and to do the will of God his Father. He was not interested in riches, nor in power. He made this known to the Satan who tempted him after his baptism, earlier on in Luke chapter 4. We also see Jesus’ selflessness in his response to his Mother at Cana in Galilee, in John 2. Jesus says to Mary, "Woman my time has not yet come." After the Passover commemoration Jesus stayed back in the Temple to do his Father's will, preaching and dialoging with rabbis in the synagogue. A mystery that Mary and Joseph continuously wrestled with. On top of everything, Jesus leaves his mother and his biological family and went to the Cross of Calvary, in Jerusalem.

In today’s (Luke 9:51-62) Christ is freely and resolutely determine to journey to this Jerusalem. But, are his disciples willing to seriously journey with him? Or are they just talking the talk without walking the walk. Are they willing to journey with him? Or must they go back like Elisha to bury their parents and say farewell to them first? 

In some contexts neither of these excuses: burying the dead or saying hello to ones' family is wrong. I think what matters is serving God responsibly, imitating him, and being volitionally dedicated to him in our various settings and contexts, through the services we selflessly render our neighbors and communities. These excuses may also serve as a reminder to us that it is much better to avoid inventing reasons to justify lack of charity, firmness in faith or adequate response to the needy and the plight of the poor or refusal to willingly participate in the dialogue for the healing of brokenness, selfishness, subjectivism and disunity facing various segments of our society today.

St. Paul puts it well in the Second Reading  in his address to the Galatian church(Gal 5:1, 13-18) "For freedom Christ set us free, so stand firm and do not submit again to yoke of slavery. For you were call for freedom ...but do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh (things that takes us away from God, evil), rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

 God and all that he stands for, is this love, Deus Caritas est!  The Psalmist rightly calls him " our inheritance"( Ps 16:5a).  May we willingly follow him in our daily works and acts of charity, and listen to that whispering of the Holy Spirit with patience! And may he show us the path of life as we journey responsibly with faith, freedom in Christ, resoluteness and determination to follow God's will, not ours, especially in the challenging world of today!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Homily [2] 12th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily [2] 12th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·         Zechariah 12:10–11; 13:1
·         Psalm 63:2,3–4,5–6,8–9
·         Galatian 3:26–29
·         Luke 9:18–24

 Following Christ with our Crosses!
Today we live in a challenging world of violence  and re-definitions of family values (the Orlando shooting, the London stabbing, war in the middle east, the havoc of boko haram and Isis etc.). There are also corruption in nations' capitals, search for power, materialism, and indifferent attitudes to ones’ neighbors; racism, hunger for war, terrorisms, discrimination of all kinds, and acts of selfishness without hope. It is to this present world, the Modern World, according to Gaudium et Spes (the Church in the Modern World), that the readings of today, in the light of Christ, are addressed. The readings invite us not only to be prophetic in our Christian living, but, as Christ’s disciples, as the Messiah's disciples, to be willing always to deny ourselves, take up our daily crosses and follow Jesus– seeing also ourselves, everyone human person, young and old, male and female, as our brothers and sisters. 

In the Gospel( Luke 9:18–24) Jesus asks the apostles who the people thought he was. They thought he was the great former prophet  Elijah, Jeremiah, the latter prophet, John the Baptists or one of Israel’s prophets come back to life. But, Peter prophetically professes the identity of Jesus, as “The Christ of God.”  For Peter, Christ is truly that Messiah long expected to liberate them from the foreign rule of Rome.

Echoes of this Messianic coming is also heard  foregrounded in today’s first reading, the prophecy of Zechariah(Zechariah 12:10–11; 13:1). Zechariah’s prophecy points to ancient events before Christ. From the house of David a Messiah would come to restore holiness, forgive sins and purify the people of God–but not without personal suffering and sacrifices as we saw in the suffering servant of God in Second Isaiah. But, they shall look on him whom they shall pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.”
Zechariah’s messianic prophecy  in the light of today’s Gospel, in the light of our Christian faith, points not only to the suffering death of Christ, but invites us to identify ourselves and our ministries, propheticially, with that of Christ, especially in moments of sufferings, hunger, pains, violence, bad political leaders, and when we experience discrimination, terrorism and even the loss of our loved ones.

This is why when Peter prophetically declares that Christ is the Messiah, Christ quickly explains the type of Messiah he was, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised…If any one wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Three points are outstanding here, for Christian discipleship: self-denial, carrying our daily crosses with Jesus, and following him. Self-denial requires that we remove selfish desire and destructive desires from our hearts and allow the spirit of God to be with us, to fill our homes and our nations.  Crosses can come to us, as it came to most of the saints and holy people (we hear of), in different forms: through illnesses,  tragedies, sacrificial love of one neighbors, helping the poor, being patience with one another; as pastors and leaders bearing a pastoral hearts, helping our spouses, Fathers helping their children, children assisting and visiting with the aged and ailing parents–giving one another our time and practicing the spiritual and corporeal works of mercy, especially in this Year of Mercy.

As followers of Christ, we are invited to live our Christian life in accordance with the Gospel values and of the teachings of the Church– welcoming everyone, male and female( Gal 3). Even in this challenging time of: war, terrorism, poverty, hunger, selfishness, greediness, consumerism etc.; we are invited to speak, take up our daily crosses  and live prophetically.

For Saint Paul, in the 2nd reading (Galatian 3:26–29),   taking up our daily crosses to follow Christ, as baptized Christians also involves, striving to become children of God through our ardent faith in Jesus Christ, by living like him, tearing down unjust barriers of gender, color, race and class, making social justice a priority in the mission of the Church as constantly emphasize today, by Pope Francis– for there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female’ for you are all one in Christ.” A female religious , Gesila Nneka Uzukwu , not long ago, also stresses this point in her doctoral dissertation entitled: The Unity of Male and Female in Jesus Christ: An Exegetical Study of Galatians 3.28c in Light of Paul's Theology of Promise.

Let us also personally ask ourselves, who am I? What am I doing? Where am I from (country, continent), what is my occupation? Am I a parent, child, church or civil leader, student, an entrepreneur,  professor, factory worker, farmer, celebrity, sport person, young, old, male or female, a transporter? In what form am I ready to take up my daily crosses, in faith, and follow the Messiah, the Son of God?  At least, Am I doing my best day in and day out to treat all people I meet with dignity and respect?


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Homily [2] 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily [2] 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
·         2 Sam 12:7-10, 13;
·         Ps 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11;
·          Gal 2:16, 19-21
·         Luke 7:36–8:3

 Forgiveness with Love

 The Bible readings of today remind us of who God is. His name is Mercy!  His name is Love! God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and kindness (Exod 34:6).  The readings, when you look at it closely also teach us how to forgive with love, and how to live with faith in Christ who is the face of God his father! Wonderful message of love and forgiveness that fit into this Year of Mercy- declared by Pope Francis- who invites us, the Church to review her practice of the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy and deepen our witness to the Gospel.

  What I have just said is found in Nathan- David’s story in the first reading. David is great warrior. He defeats Saul with the help of God. Samuel anoints David the 2nd ding of Israel. David battles on, leads, repulses the Philistines and brings the Ark of the Covenant to the central place in Jerusalem. David expresses the desire to build a house for the Lord. Through Nathan’s prophecy, God says no. God, rather builds a house for David. Not an ordinary house, – but a dynasty, and everlasting house through and everlasting covenant. Why because God loves him, loves us (2 Sam 7:14).

 Ironically, the same David, is found committing what Nathan has pointed out in 1st reading: David spurns the Lord. David commits adultery with someone’s wife, and orchestrated the death of her husband- Uriah. The Lord, will punish David and his house. We don’t know how far the Lord had intended to punish David, but what is important is David’s acknowledgement of his sins and the merciful God sparing David’s life. As Nathan would put it, “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sins: you shall not die.” (2 Sam 12:7–10.13).

  David is joyful. David is grateful. He recognizes the mercy of God and prayers:
“Blessed is the one whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile. I acknowledge my sin to you, my guilt I covered not…You are my shelter’ from my distress you preserve me…”

 How many of us reciprocate God’s love for us, his mercy, or our weaknesses and the need for confession! How often do we not forget or be so insensitive to those we have offended?  It is a true sign of our love for God, and all he stands for: peace, truth, love, faith, and hope- when we turn to say “sorry” to our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members, particularly those we have offended. We also express our love for God when we openly and sincerely receive back, with love those who may have offended us.

 Imagine Paul who was once an enemy, and an ardent persecutor of those who had anything to do with Christ. Today in Galatians 2, that same Paul is able to say, “I live no longer, but Christ who lives in me.”

 This Christ, is the face of the God David.  He is mercy in our midst. Christ embodies mercy- his preaching, his teaching, his listening, his reaching out to children, elderly, men and women.

 Christ completely forgives the sinful woman in today’s gospel, as God would have forgiven David. Each of us can relate to this story, because we are all sinners, in need of God’s mercy and love.  God knows and sees our weaknesses and strengths. This woman, though a sinner, like any of us, welcomes the forgiving grace of God, by her gestures of gratitude, humility and love- weeping before Christ, anointing, kissing and cleaning Christ’s feet with her hair not with a towel or paper napkin, and enduring the mockery of the society and of the elites of those who presumed to be better of! David was also able to say to Nathan, “I have sin against the Lord.” And Paul was able to say, “I live no Longer I, but Christ lives in me.”

May the Christ, who is the face of God’s mercy, love and peace, continue to live in us, in our homes, in our families,( in this...), in our broken society and divisive politics, as we place all our hope in him?