11th Sunday of the Year – Forgiveness

Confessional

Study:  Recall a moment when you have experienced forgiveness in your own life; how did it transform you?

Pray:  Is there something in your life that calls for forgiveness?  Pray for the grace and strength to do it.

Serve:  Is there someone you can help in the journey of forgiveness?  Is there something you can do that removes an obstacle and allows forgiveness to occur?

11th Sunday of the Year Readings

The Scriptures today reveal different examples of confronting our sins and receiving forgiveness.

The first reading from the Second Book of Samuel brings us into the latter part of the story of David and Bathsheba.  David: 1 – has sexual relations with this married woman;  2 – tries to cover up his sin by tricking and intoxicating Bathsheba’s husband Uriah;  3 – orders the brutal death of Uriah while he is fighting a battle for David.

The prophet Nathan has just told a parable to David, and when David promptly responds with the demand for justice, Nathan blasts him with the crimes he has committed.  At this point we step into the reading to discover three points:
God (very clearly) points out David’s sins
– David repents
– God forgives David’s sin

The psalm response today offers words that we might want to keep near us at all times:
“Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.”

The Gospel reading from Luke points out the reality of sin and the profound experience of grace that happens in forgiveness.  As Jesus receives the anointing of his feet, he instructs a Pharisee about the connection between mercy and love.

All three examples underscore the powerful impact of forgiveness in our lives.  In our moments of sin and temptation we encounter the darkest and most terrible parts of our hearts.  When we are honest with ourselves, we can be horrified by the potential for evil that lies within us.

Yet it is in these very experiences that we find Christ present.  The Lord will not permit us to cast a blind eye toward our sins; we are compelled to face the evil that we have done and name it.  What might otherwise fill us with shame becomes a moment of grace; Jesus Christ knows our sins (better than we do) and STILL LOVES US!  Completely!  Without limit!

Perhaps it’s time we recall the psalm response.  Perhaps it’s time that we stop for a moment and reflect on the mercy and grace that God freely grants us in our moments of weakness and sin.  Our choice to let go of sin and turn to Christ will open our hearts and fill us with a spirit of grace, hope, and peace.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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