2 Samuel 12: 7-10, 13; Luke 7:36-8:3
While attending Catholic Heart Work Camp this past week in Toledo we had the unusual experience of a tornado warning that forced us into a storm shelter in the early hours in the morning. At the same time, it was the same evening that we celebrated Reconciliation. Now although we were probably not in grave danger because of a tornado, the topic of reconciliation came up and who participated and who did not. How typical of us as humans, that, as once we face our mortality, we are then confronted with our life’s story and where it is we have gone wrong and are in need of healing or forgiveness.
The same is true with David in the first reading from Second Samuel. He has done some awful acts and is confronted by his sinfulness. It is going to hit him smack dab in the face. He had relations with Uriah wife, Bathsheba, gets her pregnant, and then has Uriah murdered to avoid the consequences of his acts. God in turn sends Nathan the prophet not to simply tell him what he has done wrong, but to offer a story, similar to what Jesus does in today’s gospel. David gets angry and realizes the story is about him; it was him that has done wrong. Not only are David’s eyes open to his sinfulness, but his eyes are opened to who God really is, that this God loves him and forgives him for his wrong. He isn’t defined by his sin, but rather by who he really is.
It is the same realization for the sinful woman in today’s gospel. She stands in contrast to Simon the pharisee who has not yet found the truth of who he really is. He has other motives for inviting Jesus and still has not seen his own sinfulness. Jesus uses the same tactic as the prophet Nathan, but in the end, it is the likely prostitute, confronting her own sinfulness and the realization that she is more than that, that leads her to seek redemption. She not only sees who she is and her sinfulness, but also sees Jesus for who he is…freely loving and forgiving. The pharisee, who’s truly is separated, has yet to be open and in need of that love, so finds himself judging rather than like the woman, weeping, desperately seeking to serve Jesus, outwardly showing her love for him.
The readings today challenge us to have our own eyes opened and to find the truth of who we really are. Yes, our sinfulness is something to be aware of and to know how evil works in our lives, but also to see that we are more than that. When our eyes are opened and we see as David and the sinful woman do in today’s readings, our hearts can be open to receiving that love and forgiveness, to the point that we will truly be found and we will want to do nothing but share it with the people in our lives. We pray that our eyes and hearts are opened this day to recognizing our sinfulness, but also in accepting the love that God freely offers to each of us, desiring only to give it away. We don’t need to be pushed to the brink of confronting our own mortality to be open to it. God wants to give it to us right now and at this time in our lives.