Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

onction

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

 

OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God,

You have listened patiently to my concerns and consoled me in times of hardship.

Let me remember Your presence and love for me when I am called upon to forgive another person for an unkind word or action.

You have shown me how to act, what to say, what to do, and yet I sometimes react in anger and find it difficult to forgive others as You so often have forgiven me.

Grant that I may recognize this failing in myself and remember Your words and example whenever I have need of a forgiving spirit.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

COLLECT

O God, strength of those who hope in you,

graciously hear our pleas,

and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing,

grant us always the help of your grace,

that in following your commands

we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

READING IKing-David

2 Sm 12:7-10, 13

Nathan said to David:

Thus says the LORD God of Israel:

I anointed you king of Israel.

I rescued you from the hand of Saul.

I gave you your lord’s house and your lord’s wives for your own.

I gave you the house of Israel and of Judah.

And if this were not enough, I could count up for you still more.

Why have you spurned the Lord and done evil in his sight?

You have cut down Uriah the Hittite with the sword;

you took his wife as your own,

and him you killed with the sword of the Ammonites.

Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house,

because you have despised me

and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’

Then David said to Nathan,

I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan answered David:

The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:

you shall not die.”

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 1736 Every act directly willed is imputable to its author:

Thus the Lord asked Eve after the sin in the garden: “What is this that you have done?”1 He asked Cain the same question.2 The prophet Nathan questioned David in the same way after he committed adultery with the wife of Uriah and had him murdered.3

An action can be indirectly voluntary when it results from negligence regarding something one should have known or done: for example, an accident arising from ignorance of traffic laws.

1 Gen 3:13.

2 Cf. Gen 4:10.

3 Cf. 2 Sam 12:7-15.

APPLICATION

This incident in the life of King David, who lived three thousand years ago, has been preserved in the Sacred Scripture because it contains a lesson for all men. It shows us the weakness of human nature, even in one so exalted as the king whom God had placed over his people. At the same time it shows the infinite mercy of God when he is dealing with a repentant sinner.

David had sinned grievously in his adultery with Bathsheba. How often does it not happen that one sin leads to another, and even to a worse or greater sin? In trying to cover up his adultery, David had the husband whom he had offended, murdered. This magnified his guilt a hundredfold. In the eyes of men his adultery might have gone unnoticed. The death of Uriah, in battle, could have been laid at nobody’s door. But God, who sees even the secrets of our hearts, was not deceived, and he did not delay in telling David so.

Adultery and murder are serious sins against the neighbor. They are expressly forbidden by God in his commandments. David did injury, and serious injury, not only to Uriah but to God also. He knew this, for he knew the commandments and knew he was bound to observe them. However, he had the good grace to admit his sins when challenged by God’s representative, the prophet Nathan. He made no excuses and no attempt, on this occasion, to cover up his faults. He knew it was God who was speaking through Nathan. He could, perhaps, have claimed some exemption from the commandments, because he was king, the highest power in the land. Lesser men have done so down through our history. David, however, was a man of strong faith. He realized full well that the word of the Lord, the commandments of God, bound both king and people.

Because he humbly admitted his sins (“I have sinned against God’) he had thrown himself on God’s mercy–and God’s mercy did not fail. God forgave him. He remained loyal to God and his commandments for the rest of his life. He suffered many heart-breaks from the members of his own family. These were, as Nathan told him, punishment for the serious sins of his life. He bore them with great patience to the end of his days.

There are few amongst us who can, in all honesty, point the finger of shame at David. We may not, thank God, have committed such serious sins as he did on that occasion. We have, however, offended God in lesser ways, through lesser injuries to our neighbor. But have we always had the humility and the honesty of David to admit our guilt as sincerely as David did?

If we are sincerely repentant in our confessions we have the word of God assuring us that we are forgiven, just as definitely as David was. The priest’s words of absolution, “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” are a repetition of, and as effective as, the words of Nathan to David: “God for his part forgives your sin.” Thus, the infinite mercy of God is there for us sinners too, as it was for David, if we turn to him with a truly contrite heart.

We are all weak. We are all capable of offending God, and thus of losing eternal life. But our God is a merciful father, who is ever ready to forgive the repentant sinner and to welcome the prodigal son home.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

PS 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11

Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

Blessed is the one whose fault is taken away,

whose sin is covered.

Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,

in whose spirit there is no guile.

Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

I acknowledged 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.

Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;

with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.

Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just;

exult, all you upright of heart.

Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

READING IINewImages_Sinai13thcCrucifixion

Gal 2:16, 19-21

Brothers and sisters:

We who know that a person is not justified by works of the law

but through faith in Jesus Christ,

even we have believed in Christ Jesus

that we may be justified by faith in Christ

and not by works of the law,

because by works of the law no one will be justified.

For through the law I died to the law,

that I might live for God.

I have been crucified with Christ;

yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;

insofar as I now live in the flesh,

I live by faith in the Son of God

who has loved me and given himself up for me.

I do not nullify the grace of God;

for if justification comes through the law,

then Christ died for nothing.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 478 Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God. .. loved me and gave himself for me.”1 He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation,2 “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. .. love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception.3

CCC 616 It is love “to the end”4 that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life.5 Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.”6 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

CCC 1380 It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,”7 even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us,8 and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love:

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.9

CCC 2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”10 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.11

1 Cal 2:20.

2 Cf. Jn 19:34.

3 Pius XII, Enc. Haurietis aquas (1956): DS 3924; cf. DS 3812.

4 Jn 13:1.

5 Cf. Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2, 25.

6 2 Cor 5:14.

7 Jn 13:1.

8 Cf. Gal 2:20.

9 John Paul II, Dominicae cenae, 3.

10 Cf. Ex 3:14; 33: 19-23; Mt 1:21.

11 Rom 10:13; Acts 2:21; 3:15-16; Gal 2:20.

APPLICATION

St. Paul, once a fanatical defender of the old law, the Jewish religion, never misses an opportunity to stress the superiority of the New Law, the Christian faith. It is good for us, too, that the Church often recalls to our minds during the year the privilege and good fortune we have as Christians. The Jews had a knowledge of the true God. They knew that he was the Creator and Lord of all that existed. They knew that he had a plan for mankind which in “the fullness of time” would be put into effect, when the Messiah came. Their religion was a religion of preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Therefore, once he had come, their religion’s reason for existing would end.

This was Paul’s oft-repeated answer to the Judaizers. Christians have no need for circumcision or other practices of the Mosaic law. Through Christ’s Incarnation, Death and Resurrection they have become his brothers. The human race has been raised to the dignity of adopted sons of God. When their life on this earth ends, they will rise like Christ from the dead to begin their immortal, eternal life.

We need to be reminded of this often. This earth is not our home. We are travelers on our way to our real home. We may, and we do, meet with snags and hindrances on our way; but any traveler must expect and accept this. The eternal happiness that awaits us in our real home is worth any and every difficulty that we meet on this earth.

This is St. Paul’s and the Church’s message to us today. Christ has earned heaven for us. He represented us in his human life here on earth, and in our name he gave perfect obedience to the Father. That obedience entailed death on the cross, to be followed by his being raised by the Father from the grave. Now, as our brother and Mediator, he sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Our resurrection is thus assured. He was “the first-fruits of all who have died” (1 Cor. 15: 20); so we will be the full harvest which will follow in due course.

He has opened the gates of heaven for us. He has earned an eternal life for us. He has given us all the help and all the aid we need on our journey to that eternal life. Any Christian who fails to reach his true home can have only himself to blame. God has done his part, and Christ not only did his part and suffered so much for us, but he is with us every day and every moment, encouraging us to persevere in doing good and avoiding evil. This morning’s reminder of our real destiny is his doing and is an example of his interest in our eternal welfare. Could we be so foolish as to turn a deaf car to his reminder? Could we go back to our careless, cold, or worse still, our positively sinful way of living, which was perhaps our so called Christian life? Could we ignore the fact that our whole eternal future depends on how we spend, and live, the few short years that still remain to us in this earthly world? God grant that no one here present could be so foolish, so oblivious of his own true welfare.

GOSPELsinful woman

Lk 7:36—8:3

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,

and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.

Now there was a sinful woman in the city

who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.

Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,

she stood behind him at his feet weeping

and began to bathe his feet with her tears.

Then she wiped them with her hair,

kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,

If this man were a prophet,

he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,

that she is a sinner.”

Jesus said to him in reply,

Simon, I have something to say to you.”

Tell me, teacher, ” he said.

Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;

one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.

Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.

Which of them will love him more?”

Simon said in reply,

The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”

He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,

Do you see this woman?

When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,

but she has bathed them with her tears

and wiped them with her hair.

You did not give me a kiss,

but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.

You did not anoint my head with oil,

but she anointed my feet with ointment.

So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven

because she has shown great love.

But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The others at table said to themselves,

Who is this who even forgives sins?”

But he said to the woman,

Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another,

preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.

Accompanying him were the Twelve

and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,

Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,

Susanna, and many others who provided for them

out of their resources.

http://usccb.org/bible/readings/061216.cfm


CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”,1 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”,2 than for the ordinary People of God.3 To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;4 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.5 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead,6 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),7 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.8

CCC 588 Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves.9 Against those among them “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others”, Jesus affirmed: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”10 He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.11

CCC 1441 Only God forgives sins.12 Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.”13 Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.14

CCC 2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief)15 or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman).16 The urgent request of the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David” or “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”17 Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus’ prayer: “He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us.”18

CCC 2712 Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more.19 But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son.

1 Lk 2:34.

2 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.

3 Jn 7:48-49.

4 Cf Lk 13:31.

5 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.

6 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.

7 Cf. Mt 6:18.

8 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.

9 Cf. Lk 5:30; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1.

10 Lk 18:9; 5:32; cf. Jn 7:49; 9:34.

11 Cf. Jn 8:33-36; 9:40-41.

12 Cf. Mk 2:7.

13 Mk 2:5, 10; Lk 7:48.

14 Cf. Jn 20:21-23.

15 Cf. Mk 1:40-41; 5:36; 7:29; Cf. Lk 23:39-43.

16 Cf. Mk 25; 5:28; Lk 7:37-38.

17 Mt 9:27, Mk 10:48.

18 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 85, 1: PL 37, 1081; cf. GILH 7.

19 Cf. Lk 7:36-50; 19:1-10.

APPLICATION

While the mercy of God for sinners and the willingness, even eagerness, with which he welcomes back the sinner is the principal teaching in this gospel story, most if not all of us, can be cheered by that teaching. But there are two other lessons in it for us. The first lesson is that the pardoned sinner should show gratitude to God. One of the greatest proofs of gratitude is the firm resolution to avoid offending our good God anymore. Do we really mean it when we solemnly promise in our act of contrition in confession “never more to offend you and to amend my life”? There is great danger that we may make this promise out of habit of routine, without seriously intending or meaning what we say. Non-Catholics often accuse us of hypocrisy in this. “You Catholics can sin and just tell it in confession, be forgiven, and go back and sin again.” This is not so. The priest’s power to forgive sin, given by Christ himself, has effect only on a repentant sinner. If a person goes to confession with serious sins and has no intention of avoiding those sins and the occasions which cause them, he is not only not forgiven, but is adding a further sin to his conscience by abusing and insulting God in that great gift of his mercy, the Sacrament of Penance. Such cases are rare, thank God. We are repentant and we mean to avoid such sins in future. However, the fact that one may fall again is always possible. This does not prove the previous confession to be invalid. But the penitent’s attempts to avoid the occasions will be proof of one’s sincere repentance. It will also be a sign of his gratitude to the merciful God who forgave him his sins.

The second reading is for those amongst us who succeed, thanks to God’s grace, in avoiding serious sins: it is that we must avoid the sin of the Pharisees. They were, on the whole, devout men and did many a good deed. But they gave all the credit, not to God, but to themselves. They grew proud of their good works and despised all others who did not do as they did. The good Christian must avoid any such temptation. He must never say, as the Pharisee did, “thank God I am not like the rest of men, tax-gatherers and sinners,” but rather say what the saints said when they saw or heard of some great sinner: “there would be St. Francis only for the grace of God “.

Yes, the avoidance of serious sin is something which we must thank God for. We should never praise ourselves because of this, and never, never should we despise the neighbor who is not so fortunate. Instead, we must help that neighbor by every means in our power to return to God’s friendship through sincere repentance. This will prove our love for God and neighbor, and our sincere appreciation of the great graces given us by our merciful Lord to keep us free from grave sins.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission of Franciscan Press.

BENEDICTUS

The Denial of Sin

It is precisely the existence of sin that modern man is unable to take seriously. Because of this rejection of the concept of sin, no one is directly touched today by the Gospel claim that the evidence of Jesus’ divine nature is based on his power to forgive sin. Most people do not explicitly deny the existence of God, but they do not believe that he is of any importance in the ream of human life. Hardly anyone seriously thinks nowadays that men’s wrong actions may concern God so much that he regards them as sinful and offensive to himself, with the result that such sin must be forgiven by him alone. Even theologians have discussed the possibility of replacing the practice of confessing sin by conversations with psychologists, sociologists, and lawyers. Sin does not really exist. There are only problems, and these can be settled with the help of experts. Sin has disappeared and with it forgiveness, and behind that disappearance there is also the disappearance of a God who is turned toward man. In this situation, Christians can only turn to the Gospel, which can give us courage to grasp the truth. Only the truth can make us free. But the truth is that there is guilt and that we ourselves are guilty. It is Christ’s new truth that there is also forgiveness by the one who has the power to forgive. The Gospel calls on us to accept this truth. There is a God. Sin exists and there is also forgiveness. We need that forgiveness if we are not to seek refuge in the lie of excuses and thus destroy ourselves… Where there is forgiveness, there is also healing.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

Prayer for Forgiveness

O God, mercy and forgiveness

are Yours by nature and by right.

Receive our humble petitions.

Though we are bound tightly by the chain of our sins,

set us free by the power of Your great mercy,

Through our Lord, Jesus Christ,

Who lives and reigns forever.

Amen.

 

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
This entry was posted in agnostic, athiest, Benedictine, Benedictine oblate, Bible Study, Catholic, Christian, faith, Holy Spirit, Liturgy, mercy, prayer, The Word of God, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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