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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
Galatians 2:16, 19-21
Luke 7:36-8:3
June 12, 2016

This Pharisee does a good thing.  He invites Jesus to dine with him.

Then comes a woman who is identified as a sinful woman.  We are not told what her sins are and it really doesn’t matter.

The Pharisee is astonished that Jesus associates with the sinful woman.  In those days, good Jews didn’t associate with sinners.  So, he figures Jesus must not be a prophet because if He were, He would never associate with her.

The thing is, at this moment it is the sinful woman who is doing what is expected.  According to the customs of the time, when a guest arrived at your house, the host was to offer water for them to wash.  The host offered a kiss and an anointing (not the Sacrament of the Sick) as a sign of welcoming.

The Pharisee did not of this but the sinful woman did.

The Pharisee saw himself as ‘chosen’ but did not do what was expected of him and saw no need to change.

The woman had committed sins and, knowing her sins made her unworthy, she comes to Jesus not to ask for something but in complete humility to serve Jesus.  What did Jesus do?  Did He cast her away?  No.  Jesus forgives her.

The Bible has stories that include various sinners.  For instance, David was considered a great king and yet he was a sinner.  There was King Saul before him who turned from the Lord’s ways.  David was forgiven but not Saul.  Why?

When David’s sin was pointed out to him through Nathan the prophet, David admitted his sin and repented.  Saul didn’t repent.  Saul knowingly and willingly defied God’s instruction.  David repented and remained as king.

Are we willing to admit our sins to God?  Are we willing to admit our sins to a priest?

I ask both questions deliberately.  Some people say they confess to God directly.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.  I don’t know.  It shouldn’t be that hard to confess our sins to God because He already knows what we have done.  Yet, are we really open with God in praying about our sins or do we just figure He knows what our sins are and leave it at that.  In doing so, we never really name our sins.

What about confessing our sins to a priest?

This can be much harder.  First of all, if we see the priest as just another human being, we can say why we should confess to him.  We might not see any value in it.  Plus, we don’t like to admit our faults.  We might be afraid of what the priest will think of us.  What could we possibly gain by telling a priest about our sins?

Yet, people can feel great relief from confessing.  It can feel like a burden is lifted (because it is).  This can happen in two ways.  First, on the human level, we can express a great relief in letting out something we have been carrying inside ourselves.

Secondly, on the spiritual level, in confessing we are saying to God, I am not perfect.  God I need your forgiveness, I need your mercy to do better.  The grace we receive is a wonderful thing.

I already spoke about confessing our sins directly to God.  Confessing through a priest makes explicit what we desire in our hearts.

In each of the sacraments there are things we use.  In baptism, it is water and oils.  In the Eucharist, it is bread and wine.  For the sick, Confirmation, and ordination, we use oils.

In confessing, the “thing” we bring to the sacrament is the words we say that explicitly admits our sins.  Then God works through the words of absolution spoken by the priest to shower his forgiveness upon us.

It is the humility we show with a contrite heart that opens us to God’s mercy to walk in the light of Christ.

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