Select Sunday>Sunday Web Site Home>theWord>Preparing for Sunday

Preparing for Sunday
11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C
June 16. 2013



There are various forms of conversations which we have in our ordinary days. We can have “adult,” “business,” “romantic,” “casual,” or “argumentative” interactions all within one day.

We can have the same kinds of conversations with life and with God as well. The Eucharistic liturgy is a form of conversing in which Jesus continues a divine and never-ending relational interchange with us, but we come to the liturgy in various modes of communication. We can prepare for each one by being attentive to the ways we have been conversing with others, with God, and with ourselves between liturgies. We can check how we have been listening and speaking in these important areas of our lives. Arguing, pouting, romanticizing and shutting down are all forms of our not desiring or entering into real relating. We prepare to attend to Jesus’ as the Word of Life by attending to the way we converse with life.


King David had sexual intercourse with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba and she became pregnant. To cover up his sin, he had Bathsheba sent to lie with her husband who was fighting for Israel. He refused to have intimacy with her as long as he was with his troops. So David had Uriah hung out to dry by sending him to the front lines and then having the rest of the troops fall back leaving Uriah to be killed.

This sounds like quite a modern script. What we hear in the First Reading for this liturgy is Nathan’s prophetic word to David from God. Nathan relates all that God has done for David and given to him, yet this is not enough. God says that David, in lust and even more in greed, took what was not his, what was not given to him by God. David took Uriah’s wife and Uriah’s life.

David replies humbly and simply that he has sinned indeed.

In response to this admission Nathan has one more thing from God to say. “The Lord has forgiven your sin, you shall not die.” Everything Nathan says is very clear, but not quite. What about justice! What David did was terrible!

The Gospel has two distinct parts. The first takes place at a dinner party. Simon the Pharisee has invited Jesus to be roasted rather than toasted. Simon does not extend the usual mannerly welcome to Jesus. Jesus in turn does his usual welcome to a woman who does not belong there.

She is known to be a public sinner. She enters the scene and wordlessly welcomes Jesus with signs of tender and gentle care. They are attracted to each other: she to his reputation of kindness, and he to her reputation of injured violation.

Simon is not attracted to either and murmurs to himself. Jesus offers him a little story to demonstrate the truth of what is going on here. Then he sends her away, not banishing or dismissing but returning her to her dignity by forgiving whatever she had been in the past. He sends her back to living without regret or shame. Of course the others at the table want to shout out about “justice!” but they murmur and question, which is in fact an affirmation about who this is who forgives sin.

The second section of today’s Gospel (in the longer alternative) is about a group of women who follow Jesus taking good care of him and the apostles. These women, as with the woman of the first section of this narrative, were cured in body and spirit. In other words, both sections are about Jesus and women.

I am going out on a limb with what I offer now. Here at our university it is well documented that more women students than men attend retreats, receive spiritual direction, join rosary groups and adoration groups, as well as assist at the Eucharist. This is not unique to our campus. I have just started climbing further out on the slippery limb.

I am a male who is envious of many aspects of the female gender. Women have a deep longing to belong. Relating, sharing, receiving, cherishing, and holding sacred seem as natural as breathing to them. Yes, injuries can disturb these sensitivities, but women seem to know the importance for living of these awarenesses.

Men hold other awarenesses sacred, good ones as well. I do not have to explain these, not to women who already know them well, nor to men who display them when they eventually learn them. Men want to fix, be important for what they do, and get on to the next “town and village” as did Jesus after leaving Simon and his dinner guests still murmuring.

Jesus seems more attractive to women than to men. They seem to receive his ways of dealing with human frailty better than we men. We like to fix our own selves, thank you, and then have Jesus approve the project. In today’s Gospel, Women long for the depth of relationship, even of mystery and the unknown. Men tend to put their nickel down when we see the completion, the outcome. Yes, it is true that men like to gamble more than women. Men have a sense that they have figured it out, whether “it” is the stock market or the basketball game or the horse race.

Simon and his male guests have Jesus figured out in this way. The woman is available for the mystery of being forgiven and released for deeper living. I am way out in the leaves of the limb now. Perhaps the real topic of the Gospel today is simply Jesus’ dealings with women, and the way they receive his relating with them. Not just healing, but inviting them to life. Jesus is also dealing with us men, beckoning us to let go of murmuring, fixing, and making. We tend to demand rather than receive mercy, in regard to ourselves as well as others. Jesus doesn’t shout anything at us, either at the women or the men, but sends us out to live more deeply.

“There is one thing I ask of the Lord, only this do I seek:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life”


Larry Gillick

Larry Gillick, S. J., of Creighton University’s Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality, writes this reflection for the Daily Reflections page on the Online Ministries web site at Creighton.

Copyright © 2013 by Larry Gillick. All rights reserved.
Art by Martin Erspamer, O.S.B.
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
Used by permission of Liturgy Training Publications. This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go to:
Back to Word