The readings today were not selected to show that the King was a law unto himself. Rather, they show the critical part that sincere repentance and acknowledgement of guilt play in our relationship with God.
David is the great example of a sincerely repentant person. He realised that not even Kings are exempt from punishment and death in the eyes of the Lord. Psalm 51, the “Miserere,” is usually attributed to his authorship. It reflects the heart of a man who knows he is guilty, yet is truly repentant and begging for mercy from Almighty God. We hear from the Prophet Nathan in the First Reading that this repentance and trust in God’s mercy were answered.
The Gospel (Luke 7:36-50) also tells a story of a repentant woman. By her weeping, one knows that she recognises her guilt, and trusts in God’s mercy as she kneels at the feet of Jesus. The beautiful part is that Jesus forgives her “for her many sins,” even though she did not verbalise such a request, her actions actually spoke louder than words.
God’s mercy is unlimited, and available to all. Even murder (including abortion) and adultery are not outside the realm of God’s forgiveness! All we need to do is acknowledge our sins, confess these wrongdoings (whatever they are), and sincerely repent. All we can do then is to trust in God’s mercy. His answer is always simple, like it was for the woman in the story: “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith [in my mercy] has saved you; go in peace.”
In the 2nd Reading (Galatians 2:16, 19-21) St. Paul reminds us that we are not “justified” (made right with God) by the Law. Instead, it is faith in the mercy of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus was a “scandal” to the Jewish religious leaders, because they did not understand that his mission was to call sinners to repentance. Accepting their mission from Jesus, the Church bestows God’s mercy to man. Now to whom do you impart (or withhold) your own mercy?