Homily  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:
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?