Those, on the other hand, who recognize that they are weak and sinful entrust themselves to God and obtain from him grace and forgiveness. It is precisely this message that must be transmitted: what counts most is to make people understand that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, whatever the sin committed, if it is humbly recognized and the person involved turns with trust to the priest-confessor, he or she never fails to experience the soothing joy of God's forgiveness. - Pope Benedict XVI
Scripture text: (SIR 47:2-11)
Like the choice fat of the sacred offerings,
so was David in Israel.
He made sport of lions as though they were kids,
and of bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he slew the giant
and wiped out the people’s disgrace,
When his hand let fly the slingstone
that crushed the pride of Goliath.
Since he called upon the Most High God,
who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
and raise up the might of his people,
Therefore the women sang his praises,
and ascribed to him tens of thousands
and praised him when they blessed the Lord.
When he assumed the royal crown, he battled
and subdued the enemy on every side.
He destroyed the hostile Philistines
and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks
to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole being he loved his Maker
and daily had his praises sung;
He set singers before the altar and by their voices
he made sweet melodies,
He added beauty to the feasts
and solemnized the seasons of each year
So that when the Holy Name was praised,
before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
The LORD forgave him his sins
and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
and established his throne in Israel.
We are all sinners no matter how hard we try because we are not perfect. Some people try to hide these sins from themselves or others. When we are so entrenched with struggle and sin, it seems easier to push our indiscretions under the rug and forget about them. We lie to ourselves saying that our sins were not a ‘big deal’. On the other hand, some people internalize their sins, letting each one tear them apart. They convince themselves that they aren’t a good person because of this sin and that God must not love them because they have a sinners heart. Both reactions to sin are hurtful to us and are not reactions that God wants us to have. We can try to hide our sins, but we can’t hide them from God. We have to be honest with ourselves and recognize our own faults before we can ask for forgiveness. We also can’t internalize our sins. Sinning is bad, but God will never write you off as a bad person. He is always their extending His love.
Look at David in today’s reading. It lists some of his life accomplishments: he slayed giants, defeated warriors, and destroyed a hostile people. He sounds like a successful, happy, loved individual. But David, like us, was a sinner too. He committed horrible sins and had to deal with the consequences of his actions. Yet, God did not write him off. Instead, “the Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever”. How wonderful is that! God loves and forgives even the most sinful of hearts. After he was forgiven, David turned his life around and in everything he did, he offered thanks and praise to God. The reading says, “With his [David’s] whole being he loved his Maker and daily had His praises sung”. This is how we are supposed to react to sin! We should ask for forgiveness wholeheartedly, receive it because of God’s mercy, and then praise His love and compassion.
Today, we are called to do a self-examination. When have we sinned? Are we hiding it from ourselves? Are we letting our sins tear us apart? We are called to remember that God is love. He knows our sins but loves us so much that He will grant us forgiveness. And with forgiveness we, like David, can do great things if we remember to continuously praise the Lord. Today, remember that God is ever-present during life’s ups and downs; He is there during our times of strict devotion and our times of sinfulness. He wants to give you comfort, help, love, and most importantly: forgiveness.