Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

(II Samuel 15:13-14.30.16:5-13; Mark 5:1-20)

In a movie review of “Dead Man Walking,” Sr. Helen Prejean’s story of accompanying a man sentenced to death, a critic asked the question of the man would have repented of the crime if he were not condemned to die. The critic concluded -- very honestly -- that at least the way Sean Penn played the role, the convict wouldn’t have repented. Although it does not present a strong argument for its existence, capital punishment can face criminals with their crime squarely. Confronted with social outrage, they cannot hide from having done something horrendous. We see a similar matter in the first reading.

David has won many battles but has committed grievous sins along the way. Scripture details his rape of Bathsheba and consequent murder of her husband. Now he sees the upshot of his crimes. His son betrays him, and a bystander condemns him on behalf of half the people under David’s reign. The truth is so overbearing that David cries in desperation and admits his guilty ways.

Yet he repents which brings God’s favor. We all sin, but some refuse to acknowledge it. In not confessing our crimes – sins of pride and laziness as well as the more noticeable varieties – we only deprive ourselves of God’s mercy. Jesus comes to free us as the gospel today ably attests. But we must repent and believe in the good news.