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Homily for eleventh Sunday year C

10 Jun 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

king DavidAfter God’s own heart, King David was a king; he loved him and blessed him beyond imagination. Even from childhood, God marked him for greatness by granting him victory over Goliath, the giant who fought on the Philistines’ side against the Israelites. God delivered David from king Saul’s power and gave him his master’s house and every material good. God even promised to do much more, but David sinned. He killed Uriah the Hittite and married his wife. This sin provoked God’s anger, and prophet Nathan, the prophet of God, expressed this anger in the message he delivered to King David. He says to the King; Why have you shown contempt for the Lord, doing what displeases him? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, taken his wife for your own, and killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. So now the sword will never be far from your house since you have shown contempt for me and taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

Though King David was greatly loved and highly favored by God, his sin provoked God’s anger and brought a curse to his house. That is what sin does to us; it provokes God’s wrath and brings curses to us. It separates us from the presence of God as it did to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden; their sin of disobedience separated them from the presence of God. In many and different ways, we too have shown contempt for God; we also have sinned and provoked the anger of God. We all deserve to be punished for our sins; like the prophet Nathan told King David, the sword is not far from us. But the good news is that this sword can be diverted, the power of this sword can be appeased. King David knew how to appease the anger of God, he did it, and he was saved. Anyone who knows and follows that way will be saved, the sword of God’s wrath will be diverted from him, and that way is the way of repentance.

When King David was told that the sword of God’s anger was hanging over his house, he said; I have sinned against the Lord. Then Nathan said to David, the Lord, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die. To acknowledge our sins and repent of them diverts the anger of God from us and brings us happiness. In our responsorial Psalm, the Psalmist says that Happy the man whose offense is forgiven whose sin is remitted. O happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no guile. Divine Mercy and forgiveness transforms us into something extraordinary; it makes us stronger and better. It restores us to our original state of holiness as Sons and Daughters of God; it erases our sins as If they never existed.

Though David sinned, the power of Divine mercy and forgiveness made him remained the king after God’s own heart, and the savior of the world came through his lineage. Repentance attracts Divine mercy and forgiveness, and we are called to repentance today to open up for us Divine mercy and forgiveness.

Repentance is what we must embrace with faith; it is not a call to mere obedience to the law but faith in Christ Jesus. St. Paul tells us in our second reading that what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the law but faith in Christ Jesus. Our fidelity to the law will be a wasted effort if we have no faith in Jesus Christ; we are justified by faith and not by law. This, however, is not a call to be disobedient to the law because, in our obedience to the law, we express our faith in the giver of the law. We cannot claim to have confidence in him and disobey his laws; remember, he says not a dot shall disappear from the law.

Divine mercy and forgiveness do not count our sins; he forgives and let’s go as long as we let him in. No matter how bad we have been, no matter the bad name we have in society, the love and mercy of God embrace us if we allow it in true repentance. That was what happened to the woman in our gospel reading today; she had a bad name in society. Maybe she was troublesome, a known thief, a prostitute, or known for any other thing that gave her a bad reputation among her people. She was like an outcast, somebody not to be associated with, a bad influence. But this so rejected woman heard that Jesus was in the house of this particular Pharisee, and she came in with an alabaster jar of ointment. With it, she went to the feet of Jesus, anointed, and wiped them with her hair with tears of repentance falling from her eyes. The Pharisees only saw the bad name she had and probably wastage of expensive ointment. But Jesus saw through her action and tears a truly repentant heart; he saw sincerity and remorse for sins. While the Pharisees looked at her physical appearance, Jesus looked into her heart, and her many sins were forgiven.

Today, let us approach Jesus with our own alabaster jar, our jar of remorse, regret, and renunciation of sins in repentance, and he will give us a new name.