11th Sunday in Ordinary Time -
A Reflection by Fr. Leo
Our Liturgy of the Word this morning centers around the mercy of God. In the Second book of Samuel, David is forgiven his grave sin of killing a man and taking his wife. Before Nathan tells him the Lord has forgiven his sin, David admits he has sinned against the Lord in what he had done.
Our response to the first reading in Psalm 32 finds the prayer saying “I confess my faults to the Lord,” and “you took away the guilt of my sin.”
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, teaches that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, not by the keeping of the law. To understand Paul’s teaching, we need to understand the balance of justice and mercy. The law can only condemn us. That is what laws do! Mercy is forgiveness of the wrong that can only come from love. Hence the profound gift of Christ who died for our sins.
Mercy is Christ’s gift to us, but that does not mean that there is not justice. There won’t be justice through the law, but justice through the healing of relationships; a moving from judgment to love. This becomes most clear in the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus says to the woman who washed his feet, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The woman showed love; a desire to live in the Love of God. This is why her faith saved her. It was her heart and her faith in God’s love that made her a new woman; a contrast to the men who did not welcome him with love, but only judged him as well as the woman. I love the contrast Jesus makes clear between the two. The men represent the law, Jesus’ response to the woman, the love and mercy of God.
As today’s scriptures inspire us this week, let us not be afraid to go to the Lord to confess our sin that we may experience God’s endless mercy and love. Then, we will come to live in the fullness of God’s love for God, our neighbor and ourselves. So, do not fear the One who loves you, he died for you, and has no score to settle with you. Only to help you live in the fullness of love. In this new found joy, we will rejoice as we forgive as we have been forgiven.