Homily 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: 2 Sam 12:7-10, 13; Ps 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11; Gal 2:16, 19-21 and Luke 7:36–8:3
Our Sins Are Forgiven With Love!
The readings of today teach us how to forgive with love, and how to live with faith in Christ.
This is true in Nathan- David’s story in the first reading. David is the one that defeated Saul and became the second King of Israel. He repulsed the Philistines and brought the Ark to Jerusalem. David expressed the desire to build a house for the Lord. But the Lord said “no”. Rather, He- God, will built a house for David and establish an everlasting covenant with him. David will have many family problems. In the midst of all these, God will treat David as his son. He will also punish him whenever he commits any sin, like any other human being (2 Sam 7:14); including the sins of adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent masterminding of the death of her husband, Uriah.
What was also important in David-God relationship is David’s love for God, in spite of his personal brokenness. He fought tirelessly for the Ark- symbol of God’s presence and honestly desired to build the Lord a house. Today, David also acknowledges his limitation that he has “sinned against the Lord,” (2 Sam 12:7-10, 13), the one who can also forgives.
And he allows this joy of confession to flow from his lips in Psalm 32:
“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, at least by acknowledging our weaknesses and by confessing our sins. 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.”
Finally, imagine the women in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, whom Jesus completely forgives in today’s gospel narrative, in fact, one of the most beautiful divine gestures of Jesus. The anonymous woman in the story is a model for each of us. Although a sinner, like any of us, she 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!
These are all gestures of love and deeper love. The woman loves more. We are called to love more! This is evidence in the response to the question Jesus put to the judgmental Simon, “when two categories of debtors say, of five and fifty dollars or euros are forgiven, who will be more grateful? Notice, Simon said, the one whose greater debt, fifty dollars, was forgiven. This is true of the woman, a public sinner, despised, marginalized, mocked by the elites, and rejected by others in the society- whom we are not really sure are holier than the woman. Its only God that knows and sees through our hiddenness! Forgiveness is a gratuity, a mysterious gift from God. It is a mystery of God’s love which anticipates our response and repentance. It urges us to love and pushes us to live not for ourselves, but for Christ, through our charitably relationship with our neighbors.
As people forgiven by Christ, set free by his love, may we faithfully go out there and love, and forgive those who may have offended us.