TODAY is sinners’ Sunday. The readings are powerful, showing three of the most beloved and admired figures in scripture: David, Paul and Jesus, who all tackle the question of sin and freedom.
David is confronted with his sins of the flesh and murder—in today’s parlance, a heinous crime and betrayal of public trust, since he’s a king. His response is humble acknowledgment and a plea for mercy: “I have sinned against the Lord. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.”
Paul shows the struggle and triumph of a sinner who relies on his own efforts and determination to overcome sin and comes to the conclusion that “in him alone is our hope.”
With humility yet firm conviction Paul says: “No longer I, but Christ lives in me … who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
Jesus shows that he is truly the face of the Father’s mercy (Misericordiae Vultus) when he proclaims, “Her many sins are forgiven because she has shown great love. Your sins are forgiven.”
There is a thread in these stories—the freedom that comes from surrendering, a yes to God’s power over us, but ultimately it is a surrender to his love for us. It is a power that does not dominate but liberates. It empowers the person toward genuine freedom.
David lives on to be the great king he is destined to be. Paul becomes Christianity’s greatest evangelizers. Christ saves us by his loving obedience to his Father’s will.
I met up with a friend, whose insights, especially on how young people think, feel and act, are food for thought and helpful to my work.
One point that struck me was her comment that young people learn not by being lectured to but by being inspired.
Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., writes, “Spiritual freedom is an interior freedom, a freedom of the mind and heart. People who are spiritually free know who they are. They are able to discern God’s presence; find meaning in their lives, and make choices that flow from who they are, whatever the circumstance.”
Today is also Philippine Independence Day. This Sunday reminds us of genuine independence, the freedom to discover one’s authentic self and the freedom to make a choice to pursue a life of meaning and mission.