In the first reading, I am struck by God’s mercy. David, God’s beloved ruler, handpicked by Him, succumbed to his desire for another man’s wife in the worst way. He has her husband killed so that he might have her. When Nathan confronts David, David sees the error of his ways and begs forgiveness from the Lord. The Lord grants him that forgiveness. There were still consequences to pay here on earth for his actions, but through forgiveness, his relationship with God was restored. The same can be true for us. No matter what we have done – even if it is as bad as murder – God will forgive us if we only have a contrite heart. This is the message of Divine Mercy. How blessed are we to have a God who loves us this much!
In the second reading from Paul to the Galatians, I am reminded of the doctrine “sola fide,” or “faith alone,” taught by many of the Protestant Christian religions. I suspect that this passage is the origin of the doctrine. The thing is though, that Paul was speaking to the people raised in the Jewish faith – who were now converting to Christianity. They believed that following all of the Jewish rituals and laws “to the letter of the law” would bring them salvation. Paul was trying to tell them that it’s the spirit of the law that was important in helping one to grow closer to Jesus/God and not the prescriptions or actions themselves. Faith in Jesus who came not to abolish the old law but to bring it to fulfillment was what/who would save them.
If your beliefs are based on scripture alone, or “sola scriptura,” then how would you respond when in the book of James, scripture says, “Faith without works is dead?” Thus the Catholic Church teaches that – yes, it is true that faith in Jesus saves – that there is nothing we could do – no amount of good works, mortifications or sacrifices we could perform to earn heaven. Jesus alone paid the price for our sins so that we could one day go to heaven to live with the Father. However, we cannot simply say, “I believe in Jesus, therefore, I am SAVED.” Faith without works is dead. We must act Christlike – as Paul says, “It is not I, but Christ who lives in me,” – in order to gain eternal life. I hope this helps to explain the Catholic Churches’ teaching on the subject – in case you ever wondered:)
Lastly, in the gospel, Jesus is reinforcing the idea that it is the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that helps one to grow closer to Him. The pharisee basically disrespected Jesus when He entered his house. He did not perform the Jewish greeting rituals required. Then, the pharisee was quick to throw stones at the prostitute who lived such a terrible life! And yet, she wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears. She showed such sorrow for her sins and such love for the Great Healer. Because of her repentance and love, Jesus forgave her.
This would be a great passage to meditate upon – watching the scene unfold, and then putting ourselves in the place of the woman sitting at Jesus’ feet.
May God bless all of our Fathers on this beautiful Father’s Day!