This Sunday the liturgy focuses on forgiveness, which entails repentance. There are two outstanding examples in the Bible, which portray human repentance and God’s forgiveness,highlighting His love and mercy. The first happened in the life of king David, the one chosen by God himself to be the king of Israel (2 Samuel, chapters 11 & 12). The second is the case of the woman, known as a public sinner, who came and wept at the
feet of Jesus, while Jesus was dining in the house of Simon, a Pharisee (Luke 7: 3650). King David, seduced by the beauty of the wife of Uriah, who was one of his soldiers, slept with her. He, then, wanted to coverup his adulterous act; but could not. Therefore, he organized a treacherous plot to eliminate Uriah by having him killed in the battle, so that he could take Uriah’s wife as his own. Thus King David, sinned grievously against God.
Through the intervention of the prophet Nathan, God stirred the conscience of the King David. Consequently, he took responsibility for his demeaning act and repented for it with fasting and penance. The Prophet Nathan, then, communicated to King David God’s loving and merciful act of forgiveness. The Gospel refers to a sinful woman, who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears of repentance, dried them with her hair, kissed them with devotion and anointed them with precious ointment. Jesus declares to Simon, who has hosted the dinner for Jesus and his Apostles, that the sinful woman by her actions, has proved her deeper love for Jesus than Simon himself. Hence, Jesus reveals to those gathered, that he is incarnate of God’s love and mercy to forgive sins by declaring openly, “Her sins, which are many are forgiven for she loved much” (Luke 7: 47).
In our society wrongdoers could be labelled as bad for the rest of their lives; but God deals with persons here and now. God does not remember the past sins, if they are forgiven. He sees only the inner heart and the love with which we are devoted to him. The person who has received the divine gift of forgiveness, can declare with St. Paul, “… I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me … I live by faith in the Son of God, who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Galatians 2: 20). May the faith in Jesus give us an experience of his forgiving love.
God bless you,
Fr. Arul Joseph V.