4th Week in Ordinary Time
Sirach 47:2-11;Psalm 18:31, 47, 50-51; Mark 6:14-29
The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever. (Sirach 47:11)
What a shining portrait Ben Sira, the author of Sirach, paints for us of King David! “As a youth he slew the giant and wiped out the people’s disgrace… . When he assumed the royal crown, he battled and subdued the enemy on every side… . With his whole being he loved his Maker and daily had his praises sung” (Sirach 47:4, 6, 8). This is a bright picture of a great warrior, a mighty king, a renowned musician, and a great lover of God.
But what about David’s adultery with Bathsheba? His conspiring to have Uriah abandoned and killed in battle? Wouldn’t this suggest a darker portrait, stained with sin? It seems as if there are two faces to David.
David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). But there’s no denying that his sins had a terrible impact on himself, his family, and all of Israel. But Ben Sira, a masterful portrait artist, knew what he was doing when he chose to highlight David’s love for God over his grievous sins. For when David stumbled and fell, he turned back to God, and “the Lord forgave him his sins” (Sirach 47:11). God kept his covenant with David, and ultimately, his Son, Jesus—a descendant of King David—brought redemption and healing to fallen humankind.
Our lives may not hold the sort of radical contrast of light and shadow that David’s did, but we all have our bright and dark “faces.” The good news is that God has made provision for our waywardness. He has given us the great gift of repentance.
We often think of repentance or going to Confession as a great burden, or at least an embarrassing inconvenience. But David’s story tells us that it is nothing less than a path back to the Lord and a protection against crippling guilt. Just as God showed mercy to David, he is eager to forgive you. He wants nothing more than to bring you back to his heart. He wants nothing more than to shower you with his mercy! Just as he did for David, he wants not only to forgive you but to strengthen you more and more.
“Lord Jesus, thank you for forgiving me and welcoming me back!”~WAU