June 13: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Readings: 2 Sam 12:7-10,13; Gal 2:16, 19-21; Lk 7:368:3
This Sunday the readings focus our attention on the drama of our blindness and sinfulness in the face of the mystery of God’s mercy and forgiveness. In the first reading, we see the dark side of King David, whose actions combined truly deserve a death sentence. David’s life not only sounds like a Greek tragedy, but also like a modern Holyhood script on a celebrity with one scandal after another. Indeed it sounds like this morning’s latest celebrity gossip. David lustfully seduces Bathsheba the wife of Uria, one of his top generals and sleeps with her. She is pregnant, and when David tries to cover up unsuccessfully, he arranges a covert murder of Uria on the battle field. The point of the First Reading is to show us how David is blinded by lust, greed and pride and how God leads him to conversion and forgiveness. The Devil leads David to adultery and covert murder, blinded by his own lust, greed and pride. Then is an interesting visit of the prophet Nathan sent by God to David. Nathan tells David the story of a rich man who had many sheep yet he took and slaughted the only sheep of a poor neighbor. Because David condemns the act of that rich man, the prophet then tells David, “that man is you.” The Lord, through the prophet Nathan leads David from his own blindness to see himself as he is. He acknowledges his sinfulness before Nathan, who speaks for God. “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord’. Then Nathan assures David, ‘The Lord for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die.” In this passage we have an answer to why we go to confess our sinfulness to the priest like David. We need an assurance in words God’s forgiveness.
In the Gospel the mystery of God’s loving mercy and forgiveness is dramatized in the story of a woman who has been moved by God to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness from Jesus. Besides crashing a dinner party, the woman is willing to break all protocols of Jewish customs by uncovering her head and loosening her hair in public. What she does is the very opposite of what Simon the pharisee host should have done according to Jewish hospitality customs. All Simon could do was to express displeasure for Jesus allowing the woman to wash his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, and anointing them with costly perfume, all symbols of profound love and an expression of real sorrow for her sins. That is why Jesus tells the story of the two debtors that point to the woman’s forgiveness of her many sins. Jesus assures her that her “sins are forgiven…..your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Like the story of David and Bathsheba, the story of the woman in the Gospel captures our imagination. What is important is that we see ourselves in the two stories of sinfulness, conversion and forgiveness. So what message do we take home? 1) Just as the Lord is quick to forgive David, so too the Lord is quick to forgive us once we acknowledge our sins; 2) Just as God does not condemn or alienate the sinner, but leads them towards repentance and acceptance of mercy, so too must we welcome those alienated by the Church, thereby being instrumental for their conversion, forgiveness and reconciliation; 3) The readings remind us that we are instruments of God’s compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation at home, in our neighborhoods and at places of work.
©2010 John S. Mbinda