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God always forgives

According to a Jewish legend, when God was about to create man, he consulted the angels that stood about his throne.

“Create him not,” said the angel of Justice. “For he will commit all kinds of wickedness against his fellowmen; he will be hard and cruel and dishonest and unrighteous.”

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The angel of Truth said, “Create him not for he will be false and deceitful to his brothers and sisters and even to you.” “Create him not,” said the angel of Holiness. “He will follow that which is impure in your sight and dishonor you to your face.”

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Then the angel of Mercy stepped forward and said, “Heavenly Father, create him, for when he sins and turns from the path of right and truth and holiness, I’ll take him tenderly by the hand and speak loving and forgiving words to him and then lead him back to you.”

And God, following the counsel of the angel of Mercy, created man.

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The story illustrates the theme of this 11th Sunday in ordinary time which is God’s mercy and forgiveness.

In the first reading, 2 Samuel 12,7-10, King David had sinned by committing adultery with the wife of one of his commanders who was on duty away from home. He also caused the murder of the commander whom he assigned to a dangerous position during a battle.

The prophet Nathan rebuked him for his “unforgivable” sin. But King David humbly acknowledged his guilt, did penance, and was then forgiven by God

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In the gospel a woman, reputed to be a public sinner, dares to approach Jesus at a dinner. With dramatic and sincere sorrow, she acts out her contrition by washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair.

After telling the host Simon a short parable about forgiveness, Jesus tells the woman that her many sins are forgiven because of her faith and love.

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What’s God telling us in this Sunday’s gospel? First, we see in Jesus’ attitude the compassion of God and ready forgiveness towards a sinner.

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If we are honest and humble enough like David and the sinful woman to admit our sins and seek forgiveness from God, then He will never refuse his mercy and love.

Pope Francis once said: “God never gets tired of forgiving us. It’s we who are tired of asking forgiveness from Him.”

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A second message is: We should avoid looking down on others, much less condemning them, like what the self-righteous Simon and his fellow Pharisees did.

We are guilty of this sin when, for instance, we talk about the mistakes and weaknesses of others. In effect, we’re saying “I’m better or holier than they.”

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Reminds me of the woman who said to her friend: “My neighbor is always speaking ill of her husband. But look at me.

My husband is foolish, lazy, irresponsible; but have I ever said anything bad about him?”
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Finally, if God is so merciful and forgiving to us, we should likewise be merciful and forgiving of our fellowmen.

Jesus clearly said:, “If you forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you yours. But if you do not forgive men their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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