David said to Nathan: I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David: “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.” (2 Samuel 12)
King David sinned twice: first by committing adultery and then by having the wife’s husband killed to try to cover up his first wrongdoing. So we see how one wrong leads to another, and a second wrong does not fix the first wrong, but only makes it worse. What fixes the situation is admitting our wrongdoing, asking forgiveness and being resolved to make amends, if appropriate.
When David admitted his wrong to the Prophet Nathan, who was God’s representative, God forgave his sin. We also see Jesus, in the Gospel, proclaiming that the sinful woman’s sins are forgiven… “Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
As Catholics, we believe that Jesus gave his apostles and their successors his power to forgive. He wanted this ministry of forgiveness to continue so that people could have the power to admit their guilt and hear those words, “Your sins are forgiven”. In this way, they would be released of their spiritual bondage to guilt and shame and be free to love anew. Today, priests act as God’s representatives. Through the power of their ordination they have the authority to forgive sins in the confessional. This is God’s gift to us. Let us show we appreciate the gift by availing ourselves of it when needed, and then to show our great love for God and others.