This week’s readings was chock full of stuff, wasn’t it? I went to Mass last night and didn't read the readings beforehand. I realized that reading before Mass definitely helps me understand and stay focused. I found my mind wandering just a tad, and, even during the Gospel found myself thinking, "Wow...this is a long one" instead of keeping focused on just what the deacon was reading. In a moment of sheer weakness, I even thought, "Okay, I've heard this story many times before...no reason to pay close attention." But, refocus I did, and I read the readings this morning on my back porch, listening to and watching the birds go about their morning business. I reflected on each passage...really reflected...and tried to open up my heart to just what was being said.
The 2nd Reading really had me stumped: Aren't we supposed to make sure we obey the laws that are given to us through the government? Isn't that part of being a Christian? After giving it some thought, I realized that, yes, we are supposed to follow the laws of the land; however, when those laws don't quite jive with the laws that God has given us, we need to stick to our faith and our beliefs, because that's what will give us salvation. The recent uproar about the whole bathroom issue came to mind. The law may say it's okay for people to use the restroom that coincides with what gender they consider themselves to be, but we have a choice. We can accept that, or say no, and not frequent places that accept it. Another issue that popped into my mind is that of abortion. The law may say it's okay to kill babies in utero, but that doesn't mean that we should partake in it. I read an article on UCatholic yesterday. A letter to a woman's physician was included...the woman had been advised to abort her baby because she had Down's Syndrome. Of course she refused and had her baby, who has been such a delight to her family. One of my own family members was advised to abort her son because some of the lab levels weren't coming back within the "normal" range. She & her husband agreed that abortion was not even an option for them. Her son is now 26, an alum from a large university, and is an officer in the armed forces. And there isn't a thing wrong with him.
Wow! A lot came out of that passage that I didn't understand when I first read it! Now I'll climb off of my soapbox!
Forgiveness & mercy. That's what this Sunday's Gospel & 1st Reading are all about. David was given everything he could want, but he took what he shouldn't have. He took another life just so he could have the man's belongings, including his wife. He only had to ask for forgiveness (and mean it), and he was forgiven. That opens the door for all of us, no matter what we do, we can be forgiven. Even in those times when we feel as if we've done something so terrible, we will be forgiven.
Last night, the priest related the Gospel to not only forgiveness, but also mercy. He said that the "image of mercy is rooted in our need for God." We all need God's mercy because we are all sinners. We are called to be the woman in today's Gospel. He did mention that it was interesting that Luke called out the Pharisee by name, but not the woman. Why is that? Is it because, as Father said, we are called to be that woman; therefore we should see ourselves in her? If Luke had given her name, would we be able to identify ourselves with her, or would we say, "Oh, he's talking about the woman, (name)"? Father also said that "mercy offers forgiveness and peace. The only way to know mercy is to offer it to others." We, as Catholics, have the greatest gift of mercy through Reconciliation, for it is through that sacrament we can be forgiven...without being judged by another human.