Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, June 17, 2007

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

3rd Sunday After Pentecost

Year C June 17, 2007 Father's Day

Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins

II Samuel 12:7-10, 13

Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11

Galatians 2:16, 19-21

Luke 7:36—8:3

Theme: Your Sins Are Forgiven

Who is this who even forgives sins?

The most amazing responses to Jesus' love are those which state complete disbelief that Jesus forgives sins. Of course the nature of His action in this regard highlights the fact that He is God. Since only God can forgive sins, and just ask King David, then this man must be God in the flesh. But if he is God incarnate, Simon's hospitality should have at least included water for the washing of Jesus' feet. Instead his feet were bathed in the hopeful tears of a woman seeking a new life through the forgiveness of her sins.

It is readings like today's that remind us that He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21) In fact Jesus rubbed up against sin in all it's ugliness and never became tainted by it. Indeed, He was in contact with sinners to the extent He was accused of being one himself. The self-righteous Pharisees did not permit eating with sinners. But Jesus dined with them often, demonstrating that God is merciful and not willing that any should perish.

St. Paul's words to the Galatians emphasize that righteousness is based on a relationship with Jesus. The Law is good and helps us understand our helplessness under the law of sin and death. In fact, the law teaches us that no one is righteous, no not one.

The exception, of course is Jesus. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.(Galatians 4:4)

Circumcision only showed one's willingness to associate with God and follow His rules. But for the failures of living up to God's standard, there was no end to sacrificial offerings. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the sprinkling of heifer's ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. (Hebrews 9:13-14)

By faith in the eternal Lamb of God do we find righteousness. This relationship, though personal is not private. The Church, which is His Body, is the sanctuary of sinners saved by grace. It is in the Church, at each celebration of the Eucharist, where we sup with him who endured death for our salvation. It is in the Church where we learn that with each other we stand on level ground at the foot of the Cross and gaze upon him with thankful hearts.

Let us pray: Lamb of God, you have taken away my sin. At the foot of your cross, in love's shadow, help me to grow in love of you. Only you can heal the wounded heart. Only you can make the captive free. Only you can forgive sins. Only you can know why we must kiss not only your feet, but also your spear rent side, your nailed scarred hands, and your bleeding brow. Amen.

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