God’s forgiveness shines in this week’s readings. As Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, righteousness doesn’t depend on what we’re able to do, but on our faith in Jesus. We do our best, we apologize when we make mistakes and God does the rest.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
In the first reading we get a glimpse into an important moment in King David’s life. David had stolen another man’s wife and had that man killed in battle. Those are two really, really bad things. David was sorry and God forgave him. He was able to be reconciled to God and to become the greatest King that Israel ever had.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians reminds us that we can’t earn salvation. Jesus sacrificed himself so that we could be saved—God doesn’t want us to try and earn what is freely given to us. God wants us to trust in him, follow Jesus’ example of justice, mercy and compassion and be sorry if we don’t live up to it.
This hope that God has for us is shown beautifully in the story of the penitent woman in the Gospel. Jesus points out that the man who had Jesus over for dinner neglected his duties to Jesus as a good host because he didn’t recognize the greatness of his guest and was too self-satisfied to think of anyone else. The woman who barged in crying and seeking forgiveness did recognize who Jesus was and trusted in God’s mercy by approaching Jesus. Jesus appreciated her apology (which was made up of tears and anointing with oil) and forgave her. Jesus counted the grief that she shared with him as hospitality—she welcomed him into her heart fully. The man who had him over for dinner didn’t even welcome him properly as a good host.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Scriptures for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Break Open the Word with Your Family
Do you find it hard to apologize when you do something wrong? If you do, why is that? If you don’t, why is that?
We often hurt the people we love more than people we don’t care about. Part of that is because we spend more time with them giving more opportunity for mistakes. Part of it is because there is a certain safety in venting your frustration on someone you know loves you because they will probably forgive you. Do you have an expectation that your family will always forgive you when you hurt them? What about your friends? How are you at forgiving when someone close hurts you?
Have you ever thought of sharing your grief as hospitality? The gift of trusting someone with your hurts, fears, embarrassments is a very intimate welcoming into your heart. It’s inviting someone to make a home in your heart. Who do you trust with your feelings? What makes you able to trust them?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”