A Deanery Mass was held at St. James Church, Woodbridge, on June 9, 2016. The was the first time the new Bishop celebrated Mass for the Cathedral Deanery. Our priests: Fr. Thomas, Fr. Emeka, and Fr. Vernon attended as well as many parishioners!
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,
Both the first and gospel readings today talk to us about sin and forgiveness. What do you think? Do we sin now-a-days? I feel we all live as if we do not know what that word means. What does the scripture say about it? Prov. 24:16 says a just man falls seven times a day and rises again. We do not want to sin but we do. If even the really good people sin seven times a day as Proverbs says, why do some think they have no sin or at least are not aware of sinning? We can deaden our conscience to sin and sometimes it might take a jolt for us to realize that we are sinning. In a similar way sometimes it happens that someone with a serious alcohol problem will not go to AA to get himself/herself treated until something serious happens when they are forced to admit that they need to sort themselves out. It seems incredible to us that King David did not seem to realize he had done wrong in having Uriah sent to the front of a battle to get him killed so he could have Uriah’s wife. We could say he had lost his senses. What brought him to his senses again? It was the prophet Nathan speaking the word of God to him. In the passage in 2 Samuel before our first reading today, God sent Nathan to David and Nathan used a very clever story to help bring David to his senses (2 Sam 12:1-7). Nathan told David there were two men in a town, one rich and the other poor. The poor man had one little ewe lamb but when a visitor came to the rich man he spared his own lamb and took the poor man’s lamb and made a meal of it. When King David heard this he became angry and said the rich man deserves to die and he needs to make fourfold restitution for the lamb. Nathan responded, “You are the man.” Then David realized the wrong he had done to Uriah. It seems King David would not have realized he had seriously sinned unless God had pointed it out to him through the prophet Nathan. What about us? Are we examining our conscience to see where we stand before God? Do we allow the word of God to penetrate us and show up the dark spots in our lives so that we can bring them to the Lord for his healing and forgiveness?
We heard in our Gospel the beautiful account of the woman who was a known public sinner meeting Jesus. It is one of the most tender and intimate moments in all the Gospels. She washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. In this beautiful intimate encounter Jesus is saying something to all of us; we are not to allow past sins to drag us down, the Lord wants to forgive us and release us and wants an intimate friendship with us. Jesus is ready to forgive us. We are not to allow ourselves to be dragged down by the past. Sometimes we let ourselves be eaten up by our past sins. We have to let them go. For example, if I hold a glass of water in my hand it is a not a heavy thing. But imagine I am holding it for an hour. It will start to hurt my hand. If I hold it for a day, I am sure I will end up in the hospital. What do I have to do? Just drop it. That is what we have to do. If we hold onto our sins, we can end up in dangerous situations for we are called to love Jesus. As we heard in our Gospel the one who is forgiven most, loves Jesus most.
How wonderful it would be if we could truly understand how much the Lord loves us and wants to forgive us. If we could truly understand this we would have no fear in approaching the Lord asking for his mercy. Jesus suffered and died for you, he desires intimate friendship with each of us. Why keep Jesus distant? Draw close to Jesus and allow him to draw close to you. Live all of each day with Jesus. Our whole life is meant to be a close loving relationship with Jesus. If we have sinned in a serious way let us not drag ourselves down. Sin does have consequences but God can turn evil to good in his own mysterious way. In a mysterious way good came out of David’s sin. The son born of his adultery with Uriah’s wife died but the next son became King Solomon who is credited with being the wisest man in the Old Testament although unfortunately towards the end of his life he allowed his heart to be distracted from the Lord. In Rom 8:28 we read, “We are well aware that all things work for good for those who love God.”
God Bless You,