The Justice, Mercy And Forgiveness Of Our God
Readings: (1st: I Sam 12, 7-10.13; Ps: 31, 1-2. 5-7. 11; 2nd: Gal 2, 16. 19-21 Gos: Lk 7, 36-8, 3)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this eleventh Sunday of the Ordinary time, the Church wishes us to reflect on this important theme and aspect of our Christian faith: The Justice, mercy and forgiveness of our God. Today’s central message is that though the justice of God is right and sure, His mercy, love and forgiveness are equally sure and endure forever.
Judging by God’s nature, goodness, actions and words, the weight of his mercy, love and forgiveness surpasses the weight of his judgement and anger. Hence, the church prays in the common of preface II: “…For in goodness you created man and, in justice you condemned him, and in mercy you redeemed him, through Christ our Lord.” All the readings of this Sunday, including the psalm, highlight the forgiveness and mercy of God.
In the first reading, God convicted, David through the prophet Nathan. Of course, David realized his sins, repented, and cried out: “I have sinned against the Lord.” David sincerely beckoned on God: “Forgive Lord the guilt of my sin.” Even though David had to suffer for the consequences of his sins, it never diminished God’s forgiveness for him: “The Lord for his part forgives you; you are not to die,” and David accepted this in faith.
In the second reading, Paul writes: “What justifies a man is not obedience to the law, but faith in Christ Jesus… I live with the life of Christ who lives in me.” This is a strong profession of faith in the justice and mercy of Jesus who forgave him. In spite of Paul’s enormous sins and ugly past, he walked about very satisfied and confident. This is because, he experienced the mercy and forgiveness of Christ. He also and believed that Jesus who pronounced him “forgiven and acquitted,” He meant every bit of His word.
Against all odds, in today’s Gospel, Christ pronounced to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” This woman got her forgiveness through her action which communicated volumes to Jesus. She demonstrated her urgent need and asked for it. She equally claimed her forgiveness with her faith by picking up her jar and walking away. So Christ demonstrated that what matters is not the graveness of our sins, but our willingness to ask for forgiveness, and to change our way and life. Also, Christ demonstrated that his justice and mercy cannot be influenced neither by our accusers, or by our past life. What matters to him is our future and life.
A very important lesson we must learn today is that, although God is ready to forgive us, we must be ready to ask for it. We must be ready to say, not only to God, but to our brothers, please forgive me, have mercy on me, or I am sorry. We must not always presume forgiveness. Just like sin is an act, forgiveness is also an act which counteracts its effect. Also, when it is granted, we must accept it in faith and carry on with our lives. On our part, we must also be ready to grant it to those who need it dearly from us. This is what it means to be the image and likeness of God. It means, the readiness to act like God, in his mercy, love and forgiveness.
Finally, when Jesus says “your sins are forgiven,” he means every bit of it, and we must accept it in faith because: “He is not man that he should lie” (Nu 23, 19). All he wants us to do is live a better life, and to resolve not sin again. “Happy the man whose offences are forgiven.”
Peace be with you all!