God is Bigger Than Your Sins
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
Todayís Homily again is a product of our homily preparation meetings. Our next meeting will be in January.
When you look over the readings you can see an evolution of the plan of salvation. It begins with David complaining that the Lord, in this case in the Ark of the Covenant, (the same ark that is the focus the movie The Raiders of the Lost Ark) is in a tent, where as he lives in a cedar palace. The king decides things should be different. The readings culminate chronologically with the second reading from Paul in the First Century AD. Here Paul explains that the plan of salvation is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Abuse of Power
There is a little piece that is missing. We begin with David and we work right to Jesus. What is missing. There is a little incident with a certain one King David and a certain subject of his named Bathsheba. If you are not familiar with the story, David is king and has an adulterous affair with a woman named Bathsheba. Her husband is away at war and she is alone.
The product of the affair is that she is pregnant and David tries to cover it up. He calls her husband Uriah from the front and encourages him to have a night with his wife. However, that is forbidden for soldiers at war. So he refuses. David feels he has only one recourse. He has Uriah murdered, therefore, covering up his affair. Well, kind of. There are only three people who know: Bathsheba, David and God. When you try to put one over on God you fail. In fact, if you think of it, it is three thousand years later and we are still talking about the incident; that is how much the cover-up failed.
Yet, in spite of this, David does not lose his place in Salvation History and Jesus still is a son of David. What is the lesson here. Godís call and election are permanent. If you are open to Godís call in your life, He will work through you. Your sins, are not too big for him to handle, provided that you, like David, remain humble before him seeking forgiveness and a desire to be closer to God.
Sinfulness in History
Salvation history, starting with Adam and Eve, is filled with people who fall short of Godís mandate. It is not filled with perfect people but human people. Indeed, next week we celebrate Christmas when God comes to us in the flesh as Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.
You are not God, therefore, allow yourself to be human. I have heard over the years of people who are willing to throw in the towel of faith because they donít meet their own standard of holiness. They also follow the concept of what is known as a plaster saint, this is the false image of what it means to be holy. It an image in which we consider the saints to have been perfect. None of them were. Paul, by the way, is open about his failures and even humbles himself before God at the days when he in all his prideful ignorance engaged in persecuting the Church. He too comes to learn of forgiveness and the truth of Godís mercy and love.
Our Faith is not for the perfect, but for the imperfect. It is not for the saint, it is for the sinner and no sin, no matter how big is outside Godís scope of mercy. If you walk through the doors of a Church, you admit you are a sinner. You are incapable of being holy on your own and you have to rely on Godís mercy for your salvation. That is what being Catholic means. Once we do this, then we can readily understand others faults and lead others to the mercy and healing of God. However, there is a caveat, you have to be willing to seek forgiveness and to change in your quest for God.
This is also one of the lost realities of our faith. Too many people describe our faith as something that makes us good to one another. That is not our faith at all. If anything that is nothing more than civil discourse. Our faith is about recognizing our sinfulness and seeking healing for it. This is also the great difference between Christianity and psychiatry.
There is a term used in modern circles; it is psychobabble. Psychobabble means that kind of feel good pop psychology that is used to replace spirituality. The term is used often in regard to churches. ďI went to mass and the priest preached nothing more than psychobabble.Ē
That means the person heard nothing about God, but a lot about how to be good people and live good lives. Again, that is not Christianity; that is psychobabble. Now, donít get me wrong psychology and psychiatry have their places, but they are not Catholicism and Catholicism is not psychobabble.
We are here to experience spiritual growth and healing and that begins by humbly accepting our sinfulness and our need for holiness. You would be surprised how much healing happens when we do that and hand ourselves over to the grace of God. You would be surprised how much ...
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