Here is my homily from this morning. God bless each of you!
Indeed, the Lord is kind and merciful! Our first reading this morning, along with the Gospel, speak of God’s great mercy and his forgiveness.
Paul recounts for us in the first reading how God showed his mercy and forgiveness toward him. Remember, Paul was a murderer. He had killed many Christians until he came to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and had come into the world to redeem it and all people from their sins. Paul came to know a great forgiveness and mercy in his life by the grace of God given to him without merit because that core Christian belief had bee preached to him, and he had experienced Jesus himself. He came to recognize his sin, and in the face of that sin he experienced God’s forgiveness and his call. And what did he do in response? He loved. That is why he says today that he has worked harder than all the other apostles, which is his way of saying that he has loved more because his sin had been greater and the forgiveness he received was complete.
Then in our Gospel we hear of the sinful woman who approaches Jesus, falls at his feet, washes them with her tears, dries them with her hair, and anoints them with ointment. This woman, facing her sin, responded with love. She loved the Lord, not only in her heart but also in her behavior, in her actions. She approached Jesus with confidence in receiving forgiveness, despite her serious sins.
My friends, when we approach God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, when we walk into that confessional, we need not fear. We walk in to put ourselves at Jesus’ feet like this sinful woman, and we do so in confidence that forgiveness is ours if we ask for it. What we do there is acknowledge our sins, and in doing so receive that forgiveness. What we do in that sacrament is love Jesus. Yes, do you ever think of it in that way? Our participation in that sacrament is an act of love for Jesus. We are, as it were, washing his feet, drying and anointing them. We love in response to our sin which has been forgiven.
“He who has been forgiven much, loves much,” we heard in the Gospel. Yes, my friends, when we face our sins, or the sins of others, our response must be love. Never condemnation, but love. We love because of the unmerited forgiveness which has been given to us by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Love, my friends. Don’t condemn!