Of all the traditional values our modern culture has abandoned the concept of fidelity seems to remain. When talking to couples preparing for marriage some still see it as the one unpardonable sin. As a tribunal judge and pastor is it not unusual when you someone is asked why they divorced their spouse to hear them say, "They cheated on me." They are shocked to discover that the single fact of infidelity is not in itself grounds for an annulment. So strong is our feeling about this issue, when we are the aggrieved party.
Then we read in today's first reading with regard to Jesus, "If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself."
First of all do we even think of sin as infidelity. Week after week we go to church, we make the profession of faith, we say "Amen." to the words "The Body of Christ." And we go out the door and sin often because we have either told ourselves that something is not a sin, or we cannot seem to muster the self control to stop ourselves.
Perhaps this reading offers us a new point of view. If we think of our personal relationship to Jesus, and sin as an act of infidelity, perhaps we can approach it with a new seriousness. We would think more before we act.
This image can seem harsh and can make us feel guilty, but that is not always a bad thing. When I am guilty, I should feel guilty. That means your systems are functioning normally.
The great good news is that this simple passage reminds us that even when we are unfaithful Jesus remains faithful to us. Jesus does not divorce us, as it were, for our infidelity. Even when the church says we should not receive communion until we set ourselves right(excommunicated), we remain members of the Church. That is why in our theology no validly conferred sacrament can be undone. That is why we have the sacrament of Penance. We are part of Jesus by virtue of our baptism and he cannot deny himself.
Our cultural instinct to abhor infidelity is correct. Our narrow understanding of what constitutes infidelity is perhaps what we need to adjust. Today let us attempt to avoid being unfaithful to our relationship to Christ, to loving God and loving our neighbor as ourself. But if we are, let us also know that Jesus remains faithful and forgiveness is always available.