Eleventh Sunday reflections
Often in life we have double standards for judging our own actions and those of others. When others fail we demand justice! “They should be punished and made to pay for their misdeeds!” However, when we falter and fail, we excuse our fault as human error. If we commit mistakes we are made to pay for them. Even if we have regretted our mistakes and made amends, people like to remind us of our past failures. Seldom do people forgive us. Thank God, He always forgives! Have a wonderful weekend celebrating God’s mercy! -Fr. Jude
Sun Ref. Eleventh Sun: “In your mercy Forgive me Lord! I am a sinner” 12-Jun-2016
Today’s first reading speaks of David’s misdeeds and sins for which he is confronted by the prophet Nathan. Not content with having an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, David plots the murder of her husband Uriah in order to cover up his sin. David as king had the responsibility to see that justice prevailed; instead he had committed grave injustice and fallen into deepest moral misery. Roused by the prophet’s words, he acknowledges and admits his sin and at the same time recognizes God’s divine mercy towards him. Because of God’s forgiveness he will not die in his sin but will be given a chance to live.
Under the Volcano
In the movie Under the Volcano, Albert Finney plays a British diplomat in South America. His personal life and career have been at a steady downgrade. He is an alcoholic and his wife has left him and he’s been assigned to a remote diplomatic office. His wife returns to help him salvage his life before he destroys himself completely. But the diplomat comes to a tragic end, not because he dies an alcoholic at the hands of violent men, but because he dies without being able to accept his wife’s loving forgiveness or to forgive himself. –Forgiveness is the subject of today’s readings from Scripture. The Old Testament reading tells how Nathan confronts King David with his sin of adultery and murder, David acknowledges his guilt and is then forgiven by God. His fall occasions a greater fidelity.
Albert Cylwicki in ‘His Word Resounds’
In the Gospel we are told of the meal encounter at Simon the Pharisee’s house. Jesus was invited by Simon and while he is enjoying the hospitality and the meal, a sinner woman comes into the house and falls at his feet and weeping, wipes his feet with her hair and anoints them. Simon is taken aback by the action of the woman and by the behaviour of Jesus. Simon finds the tears and the kisses of the woman unacceptable; by accepting them Jesus put himself in a different category, beyond the human rituals. For the woman, those tears are the silent expression of sorrow and thankfulness for the forgiveness she already senses. Jesus confirms her intuition: God has forgiven her much; how would she not love in return? We humans are quick to judge and go by externals; God goes beyond and knows our innermost motives that control our actions. He just forgives.
Gift of Forgiveness
A religious man learned that a prostitute was doing business in the neighbourhood. He found her house stood across the street and every time a customer walked out, he placed a stone in a little pile, symbolizing the weight and extent of her sins. Years later the prostitute died and soon afterwards so did the man. When the man was shown his heavenly abode he was aghast to find a heap of stone similar to the mound he had built to mark the prostitute’s wrongdoing. On the other side of the pile, he saw a magnificent estate with rolling lawns and colourful gardens, where the prostitute strolled joyfully. “There must be some mistake!” He railed. “That woman was a prostitute, and I was a religious man.” “There was no mistake,” a voice answered. “That prostitute hated her job, but it was the only way she knew to make money to support herself and her young daughter. Every time she was with a client she inwardly prayed, ‘Dear God, please get me out of this.’ You on the other hand were fascinated only with her sins. While she was talking to God, you were talking to rocks. She got what she prayed for, and so did you.”
John Rose in ‘John’s Sunday Homilies’
A young man secretly misappropriated several hundred dollars from the business where he was employed. When the shortage was discovered the senior partner called the young man into his office. Immediately he knew he would be fired and sent into prison. His employer asked the worried man if he was guilty. He replied that he was. Then the executive surprised him. “If I keep you in your present capacity, can I trust you in the future?” he asked. “Yes sir, you surely can. I’ve learned my lesson,” replied the astonished employee. His boss must have detected the repentant man’s sincerity. “I’m not going to press charges and you can continue in your present responsibility,” he said. Then he added, “I think you ought to know, however, that you are the second man in this firm who succumbed to temptation but was shown leniency. I was the first. What you have done, I did. The mercy you are receiving, I received. It is only the grace of God that can keep us both,” – Isn’t it true that those who love best are those who know best that they are loved? Those who forgive best are those who are forgiven. Our best efforts only reflect the deep, deep love of God. But how they reflect!
Steve Goodier in ‘Quote’
The Power and the Glory
Graham Green wrote a powerful novel called The Power and the Glory. It involved a priest who decided to remain with his flock, despite the great danger of the persecution of Catholics in that country. Whether due to the pressure of his situation, or just an inherent weakness, he took to the bottle, and was alcoholic. He was in his prison cell. It was the morning of his execution. He was lying on the floor, reaching out in vain to an empty brandy bottle that was just beyond his reach. Suddenly, the situation in which he was, swept over him like a tidal wave. Here he was about to face his Maker. This was not going to be the kind of death he had hoped or prayed for. He was a failure, an alcoholic, a disgrace to his calling. He tried to mutter an Act of Contrition, but the words just wouldn’t come. From where he was now, it was easy to see that his life would have been so much better, and his death so much more peaceful, if he had only made an effort to be a saint, instead of a drunk and a failure. At that moment he believed that the only thing that should ever have concerned him was his attempt to become a saint. It all seemed so simple and easy now that it was too late. All he would have needed was a little courage and a little self-control. –He must have been filled with amazing joy at the hug of welcome he received when he came face to face with Jesus!
Jack McArdle in ‘And that’s the Gospel truth’
A Second Chance
Georgia Tech played the University of California in the 1929. In the game a player recovered a fumble, but became confused and ran the wrong way. A teammate tackled him just before he would have scored a touchdown against his own team. At halftime all of the players went into the dressing room, wondering what the coach would say. This young man sat by himself; a towel over his head, and cried. When the team was ready to go back for the second half, the coach stunned the team when he announced that the same players who had started the first half would start the second. All of the players left the dressing room except this young man. He would not budge. The coach looked back as he called him again, and saw his cheeks were wet with tears. The player said, “Coach, I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve disgraced the University of California. I can’t face that crowed in the stadium again.” Then the coach put his hand on the players shoulder and said, “Get up and go back in. The game is only half over.” -When I think of that story, deep inside I say, “What a coach!” -“To think that God would give me another chance!”
May we never judge others but commend them to God’s mercy!