My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
First of all I want to say to all fathers: Happy Fathers Day to you all! Congratulations! A beautiful day! This is a great day to remember our fathers and grandfathers and a great day to celebrate the beautiful reality of fatherhood in God’s vision for our world and our life.
So day we especially give thanks to God for all our fathers — those who are with us and those have passed on before us! We ask for a special blessing and after the end of the prayers of the faithful we’ll have a special blessing for all fathers.
Our readings today from Sacred Scriptures tells us two beautiful stories about sinners who find mercy and reconciliation with God. The beautiful, I will say, spiritual healing ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And the Church today wants us, each one of us, to see ourselves in these stories. Because this is the great message of the Gospel. This is the “good news” — that we can turn to God and have forgiveness of our sins through God’s tender mercy.
In the first reading we heard how God is confronting David with his sins, speaking through the prophet Nathan.
My brothers and sisters, God really knows the secrets of the human heart. It doesn’t matter if we are the great King of Israel or each one of us an ordinary person in Los Angeles. God created us and he loves us personally. He wants happiness for each one of us. And he knows the good things that we do, the good intentions that we have in our hearts.
But God also knows that we are human, that we are all sinners. And he knows that all of us fall short sometimes and fail to live up to the beautiful calling of being children of God.
So the lesson that we hear today in our Scripture readings is that God never, never rejects us. He’s never going to give up on one of his children. No matter how far we fall — or how often we fall. We can turn to God. Always. We can call him — and he will always answer.
That’s what David did, King David did. As we heard, he responded to God with love and repentance, and with faith in God’s mercy. He confessed his sins and God responded in love.
We heard those beautiful words that the prophet Nathan spoke: The Lord … has forgiven your sin; you shall not die!
My dear brothers and sisters, the same mercy of God is always available to us, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this Sacrament, beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation we have a chance — always — to go back to God. A new opportunity to start again.
Because confession is always a true encounter with God our Father in his mercy. It is true that we can get worried about our own weaknesses. But today we reflect in the beauty of the mercy of God. Let’s ask for the grace to never get frustrated by our failings, by the fact that we keep doing the same things wrong all the time. God knows our weakness. We have to go back to him in love. He will always be moved by our repentance — by our desire to do better; by our desire to grow in holiness and love.
And the truth is, that our Christian lives are a beautiful journey of conversion, of repentance. We are all on this same journey — we all are trying to get closer to God and grow in our imitation of the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is our journey of faith, our Christian journey. An ongoing conversion to God.
That’s also the beautiful message of today’s passage of the Gospel, the beautiful story of the woman whose many sins were forgiven.
It’s interesting to notice in today’s passage of the Gospel and I’m sure that you probably noticed it, that the Pharisee in the story of today’s Gospel, he didn’t invite this woman to the dinner. He invited Jesus because he heard that he was a prophet and he and his companions wanted to test him. And as we just heard in the passage of the Gospel, they didn’t treat him with any respect. They didn’t greet him with a kiss of peace or give him any water to wash his feet.
But this woman, who was known all over the city as a sinner, came to the dinner to look for Jesus, to find Jesus. She came because she was moved by grace to seek him.
And the Gospel gives us that tender image of this woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair. She is crying because she’s telling Jesus she’s sorry for her sins! She’s asking him to forgive her. This is just a beautiful scene of humility before God.
And Jesus responds to her with such tender love and mercy. He turns her tears of sorrow into tears of joy. And again we hear in this reading, in the passage of the Gospel, the Lord’s beautiful words of mercy: Your sins are forgiven. … Your faith has saved you; go in peace.
That’s the way every Confession ends. We hear the priest’s words of pardon and forgiveness and we are sent away in peace. It is indeed the Sacrament of reconciliation, the Sacrament of peace, the Sacrament of joy. Because it brings to our hearts the peace and joy of God, of the merciful tender love of God for each one of us.
So this week, my dear brothers and sisters, our Church is calling us to reflect on the beautiful reality of God’s mercy and the great gift that we have in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
St. Paul tells us in today’s second reading the same thing that we heard in the Gospel — that through our faith in Jesus Christ we receive forgiveness and the sanctifying grace that enables us to live for God.
Our Christian life is a journey of faith and a path of repentance that always leads us back to Jesus — just like the woman in the Gospel today. So we need to make a new effort every day to get up from our sins and failings. To climb, to grow, to really try to live like a child of God, to look for Jesus. And we have to ask with sincerity for the forgiveness of our sins.
Jesus said about the woman: many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. Because he has shown great love.
I’m sorry, I went to San Diego for a few days for the Bishop’s meeting. And there’s something down there, it’s beautiful, but also allergies. So I got all of these allergies now. Maybe that’s a sign from God that I shouldn’t go out of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Excuse me.
So we need to love with the great love that Jesus has shown to us. We need to forgive others without carrying grudges —because God has forgiven us. This is how we thank God for his mercy in our lives!
So today, yes, we celebrate Father’s day, as we reflect on the beauty of God’s mercy. Let us especially ask Mary our Blessed Mother for her intercession that we understand and feel more in our lives the tender mercy of God. God’s infinite mercy and love for each one of us. And that we continue our journey of faith in this ongoing conversion — looking for Jesus, knowing that with him we will find that joy and peace that we all are looking for.
1. Readings (Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C): 2 Sam. 12:7-10, 13;; Ps. 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11; Gal. 2:16, 19-21; Luke 7:26-8:3.