XI Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
2 Sm. 12, 7 -10, 13
Gal. 2, 16, 19-21
Lk. 7, 36 – 50
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In this Jubilee Year of God’s Mercy and Compassion, we read in the Gospel today how Jesus shows God’s mercy and compassion upon the woman, a well-known prostitute and sinner in town. She came suddenly into the house of Simon, the Pharisee, to kiss Jesus’ feet and wash His feet with her tears, wipe them with her hair and anoint them with the costliest perfume . Jesus was touched by the gesture of this woman – a gesture to show her deep sorrow and repentance for her sins. However, Simon the Pharisee did not understand the woman’s action. He said to himself: “if Jesus were a prophet, he would know that this woman is a great sinner.” Indeed, Jesus is a prophet, and more than a prophet… Jesus is God… a God who loves everybody, saints and sinners. But more than that, Jesus loves sinners, it is for sinners that Jesus came to save the world. It is for the poor and the destitute and the marginalized people in society that Jesus came to liberate from the shackles of poverty and sinfulness. But Simon’s idea of God is different from Jesus’. For Simon, God does not reach out to sinners, only to the righteous. God only mixes with good and righterous people, not with sinners, not with the poor and the downtrodden, not with the marginalized people like the lepers and the blind, the sick and the crippled. What a contrast!
Seeing this woman wash His feet with her tears, and wipe them out with her hair and anoint them with the costliest perfume, Jesus said to her: “Woman, your sins are forgiven.” The other Pharisees at dinner-table who heard Jesus, were scandalized and said one to another: “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” For the Pharisees, only God can forgive sins, no one else, no human being can forgive sins except God. The Pharisees are right in saying that only God can forgive sins. And Jesus is God, therefore He can forgive sins. Here Jesus proves that He is God by saying to the woman: “Your sins are forgiven.” Then Jesus said to the woman: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” And you know what happened to the woman? She repented of her sins and followed Jesus, and became one of His faithful women-disciples.
My friends: The Gospel very clearly describes to us that God in Jesus Christ is merciful, compassionate and forgiving. He loves sinners who approach Him in faith and devotion. He opens His hands readily to them who ask for His forgiveness, peace, and salvation. Like the woman, let us acknowledge our sinfulness before God and confess our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which was instituted by Christ. There in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest, who represents Christ at that moment, says to the penitent: “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Right there and then our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled with God again. God gives us another chance to live godly.
In the first reading, like in the Gospel, God shows His mercy, compassion and forgiveness to King David. Despite all the blessings God had bestowed upon him, King David responded with ingratitude by committing adultery and murder. First, he took Bathseba, the wife of Uriah, and slept with her and then, killed Uriah, husband of Bathseba so he could have Bathseba as his wife. But God sent prophet Natan to reprimand King David of his evil deeds, which he did. King David became conscious of his double sins and repented. God forgave him and gave him more years to live.
Again, in the first reading God tells us that there is forgiveness of sins, if only we come to Him, repent of our sins and return to God.
My friends: If God forgives us our sins, if God is merciful, compassionate and forgiving towards us, we should show our mercy, compassion and forgiveness towards other people too, especially those who have offended us. We should also forgive those who sin against us, as we always say in the “Our Father”: “And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Like God, we should also be merciful, and compassionate towards the poor, the downtrodeen, the sick and the marginalized in society – people who do not count in our society.
How can we show our mercy and love toward other people? The answer is this: In order to show our love and concern, mercy and compassion towards other people, Pope Francis urges us to practice the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy. What are they? They are: 1) to give food to the hungry; 2) to give drink to the thirsty; 3) to give shelter to the homeless 4) to give clothing to the naked 5) to visit the sick, 6) to visit the prisoners and 7) to bury the dead. Have we done one or several of those works of mercy? I hope each one of us, one time or another, one way or the other, has done one or several of them. Besides that, there are also 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy. They are: 1) Admonish the sinner 2) Instruct the ignorant 3) Counsel the doubtful 4) Comfort the sorrowful 5) Bear wrongs patiently 6) Forgive all injuries and 7) Pray for the living and the dead. Have we done one or some of these spiritual works of mercy? Again, I hope each one of us has in one time or another, in one way or the other, has done one or several of them.
My friends: God loves us. He is merciful and compassionate towards us sinners. Let us go to Him with faith and ask for His forgiveness and mercy like the woman in the Gospel and King David in the first reading. Like our God who is merciful, compassionate and forgiving, we too should do likewise.
My brothers and sisters: To summarize our reflection, I would like to quote from the responsorial psalm we sang a while ago: “ Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.” (Ps. 32) Amen.
By: Rev. Fr. Ernesto Amigleo, CICM