Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Samuel 15:13-14.30.16:5-13; Mark 5:1-20)
“Dead Man Walking” tells of Sr. Helen Prejean’s accompanying a murderer to the death chamber. At the end of the story the criminal confesses that he did indeed kill an innocent person. A reviewer of the movie asked whether the man would have repented if he were not condemned to die. He concluded -- very honestly it seems -- that at least the way the role was played, the convict would not have repented. Although it does not present a strong argument for its existence, capital punishment does confront criminals with the enormity of their crime. With accompanying social outrage, they cannot hide from having done something horrendous. We see a like matter in today’s reading.
Although he has won many battles for Israel, David has also committed grievous sins. 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 while admitting his guilty ways. Once again, his repentance will bring 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.