Loving Forgiveness

By Sanchez, Patricia Datchuck | National Catholic Reporter, June 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

Loving Forgiveness


Sanchez, Patricia Datchuck, National Catholic Reporter


JUNE 12, 2016, ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Patricia Datchuck Sanchez

2 Sm 12:7-10, 13; Ps 32; Gal 2:16, 19-21; Lk 736-8:3

Two sweethearts walked hand in hand on the river-walk in downtown New Orleans. Both knew that their relationship was deepening and growing stronger day by day On that day in particular, they were musing about their future together and how they might deal with the inevitable problems and disagreements that arise in any relationship. They conversed on a variety of possible scenarios, including faith preference, cultural background, children, political views, money issues, etc.

At one point in their conversation, she turned to him and asked tentatively, "Could you forgive me if I were unfaithful?"

She was shocked by how quickly he replied, "Of course, I would. I love you too much not to!"

It is precisely this quality of forgiveness that we celebrate today as each of the three sacred texts offers assurance to sinners that God cannot help but forgive because God, who is Love, loves us too much not to.

This quality of divine forgiveness is at the heart of the Scriptures and was made incarnate in the person and mission of Jesus.

Throughout the Hebrew sacred texts, Israel's infidelity is a constant, but even more constant is the love with which God calls her home, speaks to her heart and forgives her. When Jesus appeared among us, his first words (in Mark's Gospel) were a call to repentance: "Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15).

As John O'Donnell has explained, this good news is God's offer of reconciliation, which explains many aspects of the ministry of Jesus, such as his deliberate association with tax collectors and prostitutes (A Faith You Can Live With, Sheed and Ward, 1999). These social outcasts became symbols for what God was offering to all sinners: reconciliation.

God's great love for sinners is expressed in every word and work of Jesus. This insight was given eloquent expression by Paul, who in his letter to the Romans summed up the entire mystery of God's mercy: "While we were yet helpless ... Christ died for the ungodly Why, one will hardly die for an unrighteous man--though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!" (Romans 5:6-7).

David experienced the depth of God's love, as is illustrated in today's first reading. There, the author of Samuel tells of David's scheme to have Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, for his own. When confronted by Nathan, David admitted his sin and was forgiven.

His example speaks to us all. …

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