Saturday, June 11, 2016

Homily for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Love means never having to say I'm sorry!  This line became very famous after the release of the movie Love Story, starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw.  Love means never having to say I'm sorry.

It may have worked for the movie, but that's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.  Love is all about mercy and forgiveness.  All of us here have said I am sorry and all of us here have heard those same words. 

As people of faith, we are called to say I'm sorry, to seek forgiveness and receive that forgiveness from Jesus.

Today’s readings give us powerful lessons on forgiveness. They speak to us of laying bare our sinfulness and our brokenness and seeking the love and mercy that God offers to all of us.

In our 1st reading David confronts his sinfulness; he seduces another man’s wife after lusting for her and has that man murdered yet he is allowed to see his sinfulness through Nathan the prophet and proclaims: “I have sinned against the Lord”. And David hears, through the mouth of a Nathan: “The Lord has forgiven your sin”. Imagine David, broken and hurt by his own sins, now hearing those words.  David completely repented, in fact he composed Psalm 51 after receiving the Lord's mercy and forgiveness.  David admitted his need for forgiveness and mercy with his very words.

The Gospel gives us the example of one admitting their sinfulness and need for forgiveness not by her words but by her actions. And it is not the host in our Gospel story; but the woman. And this woman is of ill repute yet she finds a way to make it inside the home of Simon and fall at the feet of Jesus. With her actions; the bathing of His feet with her tears, the drying of His feet with her own hair and the anointing of His feet with the ointment she declares publically, I am a sinner but I want to end my sinfulness, I seek forgiveness and mercy.

Simon, for his part, felt no need to consider his own sinfulness. In fact, his invitation to Jesus was not to learn from Him, or to love Him, but perhaps to expose Him as a fraud, to trap Him in some fashion. He extended no common courtesies of the day to his invited guest. And Simon is indignant that this woman, this sinner has intruded on his plans. Imagine how Simon must feel when he hears Jesus proclaim to the woman, and all gathered together, “Your sins are forgiven” and again, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

These were very important facts for the author, St. Luke, the physician, to include in the Gospel that bears his name. And they are important lessons for all of us gathered here today and preparing to approach the altar to receive the Precious Body & Blood of the same Jesus who forgives the woman in this Gospel.

We are called to seek the Lord and ask for His forgiveness and to seek His mercy. We are called, by His Church, to be able to hear those same words that David and the woman hear; your sins are forgiven. That happens every time we go to reconciliation. The Priest, acting in the name of Jesus, says these words while making the sign of the Cross: “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Perhaps this is the week that we return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, make a sincere confession and seek forgiveness and mercy. But we, like the woman, need to take action. Reconciliation requires we go forth, we seek the Sacrament, we go; just like the woman.

In the week ahead, we all can make a personal commitment in our daily activities and prayer life to pray for forgiveness. Do we need a great example; seek the response from today’s Psalm 32: “Lord, forgive the wrong I have done!” Make this part of our morning prayer, or evening prayer or something we can pray in those most difficult parts of our day.  And while we are in the Psalms, take a look at Psalm 51 and perhaps pray this psalm on Friday, the day Psalm 51 is traditionally prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours.

And if there is someone who needs to hear “I’m sorry” or “please forgive me”; then say it, mean it and reconcile with whoever that person may be.  Don't put this off another week; make this the week to seek that forgiveness; to seek reconciliation!

As we prepare today to go to Jesus in Holy Communion, seek His forgiveness, seek His mercy, rejoice in His infinite Love.

Love means never having to say your sorry; well, all I can say is that's just wrong!!

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