2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Nathan said to David, “The Lord the God of Israel says this, ‘I anointed you king over Israel; I delivered you from the hands of Saul; I gave your master’s house to you, his wives into your arms; I gave you the House of Israel and of Judah; and if this were not enough, I would add as much again for you. Why have you shown contempt for the Lord, doing what displeases him? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, taken his wife for your own, and killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. So now the sword will never be far from your House, since you have shown contempt for me and taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’”
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Then Nathan said to David, “The Lord, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die.”
Galatians 2:16, 19-21
We acknowledge that what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the Law, but faith in Jesus Christ. We had to become believes in Christ Jesus no less than you had, and now we hold that faith in Christ rather than fidelity to the Law, so that now we hold that faith in Christ rather than fidelity to the Law is what justifies us, and that no one can be justified by keeping the Law, so that now I can live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me. The life I now lie in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake. I cannot bring myself to give up God’s gift: if the Law can justify s, there is no point in the death of Christ.
Luke 7:36 - 8:3
One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him and what a bad name she has.” Then Jesus took him up and said, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Speak Master,” was the reply. “There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt, one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?” “The one who was pardoned more, I suppose,” answered Simon. Jesus said, “You are right.”
Then he turned to the woman. “Simon,” he said, “you see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, “Who is this man, that he even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Now after this he made his way through towns and villages, preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and several others who provided for them out of their own resources.
Is God a tyrant?
Most of us would immediately answer ‘no’. But some of us have gone through, or are still going through, difficult discernment processes where we torn between two choices - the one we know that God wants us to choose, and the one that we want to choose for ourselves - and we wonder, does following God mean that we have to give up everything that our heart desires? Does it mean that we have to give up all our dreams and ambitions? What happens if we decide to follow our own heart? Does that mean that we will never be happy in life?
Some of us might also feel oppressed by the laws that God insists we follow in order to be considered one of his people. Some of us look at the laws of the Catholic Church and feel oppressed by them. Most of us have at least one law of the Catholic Church that we do not agree with, and we constantly feel oppressed by it. We don’t want to follow the law, but we know that if we do not follow it, we would not be considered Catholic. So we grudgingly follow the law. At the same time, we constantly come up with reasons why the law is wrong.
One of those laws that many of us do not agree with is why Catholics are forbidden to use contraception or to have pre-marital sex. We keep saying that the Church is outdated and needs to keep up with the times by re-looking and updating the Church law on this matter. The thing is, the Church HAS re-looked the law and reaffirmed that the law is correct. But we insist that it is wrong. Maybe what is wrong is not the law, but our hearts? Maybe it is our hearts that is not in the right place?
Many of us who feel this way about one or some of the Church’s laws, we are still living in the Old Testament. We believe that we must follow this law in order to remain Catholic. It is not the law that is old, but we are the ones that are old, for in the Old Testament, people must keep the law in order to remain as God’s people.
The New Testament is different. It is different not because the law is outdated, but because Christ died to bring our hearts in conformity with the law. When our hearts are in conformity with the law, we have no desire to break it. It is no longer a struggle to follow the law, because now we want to. This is the power of Christ, the power of the Good News, and indeed it is good news.
What causes that gap between the law and where our hearts are? The answer is sin. Sin causes a break in the relationship between God and man. Sin causes the gap between God’s law and our hearts. The greater the sin in our lives, the greater the break in our relationship with God, and the greater the gap between God’s law and our hearts.
With such a gap, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to follow God’s law willingly. Grudgingly, yes, but not willingly. This is what Christ’s death offers us - to be able to follow God’s law willingly. But why does sin cause such a gap?
Original sin is a denial of God’s fatherhood. It is a deception that tells us that God is a tyrant, that God doesn’t want our happiness, that he just wants us to obey him. Indeed not many of us truly believe from the bottom of our hearts that God wants us to be happy. “Why does God want me to do the things that I don’t want to do? Why doesn’t he let me follow my own desires?” we ask. Yes, to some of us, God is indeed a tyrant. But this perception of God is not the way it is supposed to be.
God is our Father, and this is what Christ has come into the world to show us. He is not a tyrant that insists we do things his way. Only by accepting Christ’s death can sin be removed from our lives, and then we can see that God truly is a loving and forgiving Father, who desires our happiness.
There are three responses to a law that we do not agree with. The first one is to break the law and indulge our desires. I would not recommend that. The second one is to repress our desires and grudgingly follow the law that we do not agree with. That is what most of us do. But few of us know that there is a third way - to surrender our desires to Christ and ask him, through the power of his death on the cross and resurrection, to remove the sin which twists our desires, to untwist those desires and change our hearts to be in conformity with God’s law.
This is the Good News of the Gospel. This is the Good News that is presented to us this Father’s Day. That God is a loving and forgiving Father who wants to remove sin from our lives, and to bring our hearts back in conformity with the law, the way it was supposed to be, so that we might all be happy with him in heaven.
Every time that we disagree with a law of God’s, let us offer our hearts and our desires to God that he might take our desires and our hearts and change them through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection, and bring them in conformity with his law. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: The Good News of Jesus Christ - that God is a loving and forgiving Father.
You Should Also Check Out This Post:
- Sunday, July 1 - Are you free to say ‘No’?
- Saturday, June 30 - Hospitality
- Friday, June 29 - Keeping the faith
- Wednesday, June 27 - The golden rule of truth
- Question: What’s the connection between pre-marital sex and adultery?