Sunday, June 16, 2013

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

These readings on Father's Day seem, at first sight, to be quite a downer.

David sins to the point of causing the death of Uriah the Hittite, whose wife he essentially steals and eventually marries. A woman (known to be a public sinner) makes her way — uninvited — into the home of a well-to-do Pharisee in the middle of a dinner. Both sinners recognize and confess their sin.

Davis does so openly and directly to Nathan; the woman does so openly, yet in an intimate expression, by cleaning Jesus’ feet with her tears, anointing and kissing them in public. Although the scenes and the sins are different, the admittance of sin, guilt and sorrow are very much the same.

What is essential to true repentance is the acceptance of responsibility for the sins one has committed and a desire to change. In our faith, we have a tool that is enormously helpful to this process. In the sacrament of reconciliation (more commonly known as confession), a person goes before the priest (both sinners) and tells his or her sins.

What is required is accepting responsibility for one's sins by openly, directly, and simply, admitting one's guilt. By opening to let the sin out or telling it, one finds themselves open even more to receiving forgiveness and actually experiencing a reconciliation deep within. The woman in today's Gospel does it publicly, and yet it is so intimate and revealing — many were aghast! Jesus, however, defends her actions and notes how deep her love is.

Fathers — and for that matter, mothers and everyone else — a great truth is being expressed today which has to do with being imperfect, sinful, yet capable of true repentance. How human this is. How encouraging this is. And how filled with the mercy of love this us.

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112. Or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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