Saturday, January 30, 2010

"I have sinned against the Lord" 1-30-10

The part of King David's life in the current first readings models for us contemporaries the reality of the diminished moral and ethical sensibilities that can overtake even good people. The way that Nathan uses the story of the rich man's destroying the poor man's prized possession is a powerful way to have David open up his heart to his sin. If you were Nathan, in a similar circumstance, what kind of story would you develop if you were asked by God to tell someone you know that his life need repentance? None of us would like that position. However, think for a moment of a contemporary story that could be developed.

Nathan's story brought David to the acknowledgment of his sin as well as to ask the Lord for forgiveness. His words, "I have sinned against the Lord," are a powerful admission of weakness for man of his position and power.

Furthermore, Nathan's words to David reaffirm God's unfailing love for the House of David. At the same time Nathan says "The Lord has forgiven your sins: you shall not die." But because David had "spurned the Lord" there would be difficult "paybacks," as we might say, for his serious sinfulness.

Because Lent is quickly coming our way, the story of God's relationship with David can spur us onward to a better pre-Lent prep time. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is so important in our Church, yet, unfortunately not so for many modern day Catholics. Overlooked are two very powerful phrases in the rite of the Sacrament: "... for I have sinned" then the response, "I absolve you of your sins." But then there are those other words "... for you penance." More on this last phrase coming on Monday's posting.