Restoration and Joy through Repentance
The author of this Sunday’s psalm (Psalm 51) was probably writing about 600 years before Jesus was born and 1000 years before the season of Lent was fully established within the Church. Nevertheless the writer fully understood the Lenten theme of repentance in the presence of God. He seems to be laying open his guilt rather dramatically: “I have been wicked even from my birth”. Tradition portrays King David as the author of this psalm, giving his meditation after he had acquired another man’s wife and then murdered that man. This would certainly explain an expression of profound guilt . Here is reassurance that all and every sin can be repented of, if we truly have a change of heart and outlook as a result. Our own sins may appear more understandable and forgivable in God’s sight, than the sins that other people commit. But all sin requires repentance, and Jesus points out our tendency to see our brother’s or sister’s speck in their eye, past the log of sin in our own. We take stock of our lives especially during Lent so we can ultimately achieve what the ancient psalmist wished to: Restoration and Joy. We pray for “again the joy of your salvation” through a return to God’s presence. We yearn for a time when our combined tongues more fully “will declare your praise”.