The first reading, taken from the Second Book of Samuel, and the Gospel of Luke tell us about two sinners who experienced the mercy of God.
God is always ready to start again, but he gives us time until we are ready to accept his will, his loving plan of salvation for each one of us.
Last Sunday's Gospel invited us to reflect on the compassion of God the Father made known to us through his incarnate son Jesus. We were invited to be comnpassionate in our human relationships.
Today the Gospel presents to us the mercy of God toward the sinners, his kindness without boundaries manifested through the goodness and kindness of his incarnate Son Jesus. We are again invited to be like him, to be merciful, to feel in our hearts the need and the misery of the other person.
Another theme in the readings is the hospitality. Hospitality to welcome into our homes as well as into our hearts. Hospitality manifested in the concrete actions: washing of feet, kiss of peace, annointing of the head.
FIRST READING, SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL 12:7-10,13
ü At the beginning of chapter 12 we are told that Nathan by means of a parable helps David to acknowledge his sins of adultery , homicide and infidelity toward God and toward his people.
ü When David becomes indignant on listening to the story of the poor man and his sheep, Nathan tell him "You are this man."
ü The prophet has been sent by God to David to uncover his sins, to remove the veil of hypocresy and self satisfaction that filled the heart of King David, may be he had forgotten that he was called to be shepherd not of sheep but of his people Israel.
ü God through the mouth of the prophet reminds David of all the benefits he has granted him:
v Victory over Saul
v the kingdom and all Saul's possessions even the wives who were now David's wives
v the house of Israel and the house of Judah
v And God adds that he could continue mentioning all the benefits granted to David
ü But David instead of being the humble shepherd he once was, he had allowed himself to be poisened by power and oppressive dominion. He has appropriate everything he has received as his own, he has sinned:
v He has taken the wife of Uriah for himself, he has taken the life of Uriah. He has dozens of wifes but he has taken the one of a good man.
v Not satisfied with this sinful action he has planned the death of Uriah killing him through foreign hands hoping that his sin would not be known.
ü Because you have done such a sin, and killed Uriah with the sword, the sword will never depart from your house, you dynasty.
ü David says to Nathan "I have sinned against God."
ü Nathan says to David "The Lord has forgiven your sin, you will not die."
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 32
LORD FORGIVE THE WRONG I HAVE MADE
Blessed be the one whose fault is taken away
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt
in whose spirit there is no guile.
I acknowledge my sin to you
my guilt I covered not
I said "I confess my faults to the Lord!
And you took away the guilt of my sin.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice you just;
exult, all you upright of heart.
GOSPEL Lk 7:36-50
v Two different persons
A Pharisee, a good and honest man, who tryes to be faithful to the Law, and who considers himself good.
A woman, a sinner and a prostritute, she does not know the law, she is marginalized by society even by those who use her as an object of pleasure.
Jesus offer his salvation to both of them in this Gospel.
v The Pharisee has invited Jesus to sit at his table for dinner, although he does not agree too much with what this "prophet" does and says.
v Jesus has accepted the invitation even not feeling welcomed amid the Pharisees, but he has come for all, for those who know they are sinners and for those who do not know they are.
v They are enjoying the meal, the drinks, the conversation and all the sudden a woman comes to ruin this time of sharing. She is a public sinner, a prostitute. A woman whose sin is seen by all, her sins are not hidden as those of most of us, and thus we think that we belong to the groups of the "good people" without sin, at least the sins of that woman.
v The woman goes straight to Jesus and kneels behind him at his feet, and shows signs of gratefulness and of sorrow:
Ø she bathes the feet of Jesus with her tears
Ø she wipes them with her hair.
Ø she kisses them with love
Ø she anoints the feet of Jesus with ointment
v Probably all those at the table are surprised and scandalized, more than all the Pharisee who has invited him. No one says anything aloud but they thinkin their hearts "If this man was a prophet he would know..."
v Yes, Jesus knows and he allows the woman to touch him, and he gives back to her the grace of God, helps her to acknowledge her dignity as a human person and to respect herself
v And Jesus speaks to Simon who feels very happy that Jesus wanted to speak to him, but Simon does not know what Jesus is going to say to him.
v The words that Jesus is about to say to him are words to soften his heart and to move him to look for the forgiveness of his sins, like the woman does.
v Two people have a debt, none of them is able to pay it and the creditor forgives it for both.
v Jesus asks "which of them will love him more?" "the one whose larger debt was forgiven." Good answer Simon, you see this woman, she has done all the signs of hospitality that you were supposed to do when I came into your home, this is a sign that you love less, because if it is true that your sins are less than the sins of that woman, it is also true that you love less.
v Jesus speaks to the woman "your sins are forgiven"
v whom does he think that he is? only God can forgive sins. They are unable to understand the teaching of Jesus and draw the consequence that God himself is visiting them.
v This is not possible, because the God we have made for ourselves would not allowed this woman to touch him and thus make him impure, he would not allow her to enter the house and he would have expelled her.
v But Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth, has come to speak to us about the true God, to let us know how God really is, because the God Jesus teaches about is a loving and caring Father who gives life and forgives, always ready to welcome all of us when we go back to Him, and even more, He looks for us, and when he finds us he is happy.
v Your faith has saved you, because you have believed that I can heal you, when you realized you were healed you have come to thank me.
v GO IN PEACE. Yes go in peace because God loves you and welcomes you and gives back to you your dignity as his daughter. Simon now you are not able to experience this happiness, because you are not ready yet to humbly acknowledge that you are a sinner, that you are naked and in need of my grace, as the Spirit says to the bishop of Laodicea in the book of Revelation.
SECOND READING Galatians 2:16.19-21
· Paul writes this letter to the communities he had established in the region of Galatia, the center of what is now Turkey. Those communities were formed by people coming from the pagan world, there were no Jews among them. When Paul was in this region he was sick.
· We see how Paul struggles to convince the people of his communities that salvation comes to us not because we have done good deeds, but through faith in Christ who has given his life for us. It is the other way around of what we normally think: we do good deeds because we have been saved and we have welcomed the salvation as a gift from God.
· On verse 19 Paul says that by the Law he has died to the Law. The love for the Law is what put him on the way to Damascus, where the Lord was waiting for him to reveal to him that the law cannot save, that what saves is the faith in the risen Lord. Since then Paul lives only for God
· Paul continues to say:
v I have been crucified with Christ
v I live no longer I, but Christ lives in me. Such is the intimacy of that union of Paul with the Lord Jesus whom he had encountered on the way.
v He continues saying that while he lives in his mortal body, that is during his life in this world, he lives by faith in the Son of God "who loved me and gave himself up for me."
v He makes this reflection: if we could obtain our justification or salvation by means of the Law, then Christ would have died in vain.
v But the truth is that the Son of God became man, was incarnate, because he wanted to give back to us the life that the Father had given to us from the beginning.
We are invited:
v to relate to our brothers and sisters with mercy
v to practice the hospitality welcoming into our heart every one who comes to us, those who are part of our life and even those we do not even know
v to believe that we do not save ourselves, but that we are saved by the Lord
At many other times our Lord has given me the grace to follow him with great detachment from all things and much trust in His Divine
The Lord always does this with a great feeling of gratitude and tells me with
great love: “My daughter, if one could be detached from oneself, then he would
know what I do for him. Venerable María Antonia París,
Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 91. Providence
My Jesus, there is one thing I ask that I know you will grant. Yes, my Jesus, I ask you for love, for great flames of that fire you brought down from heaven to earth. May that sacred fire enkindle, burn, melt, and pour me into the mold of God's will. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography, 446.
CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
PAGOLA, José, Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C. 2012.
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según Las Escrituras, Año C, 2006
SAGRADA BIBLIA - Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.