Only the strong forgive


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

II Samuel 12:7-10, 13

Galatians 2:19-21


I can remember past hurts very well. I can remember people who have hurt me from a long time ago. It sometimes is still brings up a lot of pain, and suffering. It is easy, to think of those who have hurt me, but our readings today challenge us to think of how we have hurt others. Now, that may be a lot harder to do.

In our first reading from II Samuel, we hear the prophet Nathan confronting David by saying, “Look at all God has done for you, and this is what you have done, going out in sinning in such a horrible way.” David has a repentant heart and comes to understand his sin, through Nathan as he says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan responds, “Because you have asked for forgiveness, God is will be merciful.”

St. Paul in our second reading gives us a mindset to live by as he says, “I live, no longer for me, but for Christ who is in me.” If we reflect on what Paul is saying, it will help to keep us humble, so when we do hurt someone, we will have the strength to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness should always begin within us.  

In our Gospel, a Pharisee invites Jesus to his home, but he does not do the prescribed ceremonial washings for when a guest enters a home. The story is already setting up that the Pharisee is not very humble, but more curious about who Jesus is. When a “sinful woman” enters the Pharisees home, he says, “What are you doing here?” To be labeled a “sinful woman” her sin must have been very public, for everyone to know about it. The difference between the Pharisee and the woman is she knows the depth of her sin and kneels at the feet of Jesus and not looking up, she baths his feet with her tears, she dries them with her hair, and she anoints his feet with ointment. Simon only still sees a sinful woman, but Jesus sees a woman knowing her sinfulness, and silently begging for forgiveness.

What are we doing here? How do we need to be at the feet of Jesus and asking for forgiveness from others? The words of “I love you” need to be said often, but the words, “”I am sorry” need to be said just as much. Only strong people can admit that they were wrong, forgiveness, is not for the weak. May the Eucharist we share bring us to say, “I am sorry!”


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