In today’s First Reading the Lord sends the prophet Nathan to David to see how sound David’s moral reasoning is, only to “hang him” with it. David sizes up perfectly the scenario of the rich man who takes the poor man’s only lamb instead of using one of his own to entertain a guest. In David’s time polygamy was practiced, and he had multiple wives, but Uriah the Hittite only had one. In committing adultery with Uriah’s wife David took what did not belong to him, and he didn’t give a thought to Uriah, except to murder him in order to cover up his sin, as we saw yesterday. David was fully aware of what he was doing, which made his sin even more serious.
Unlike Saul, who made an effort to justify his sin, David knew all his schemes to cover up what he had done were now revealed to be futile, and acknowledged his sin before the Lord. He was repentant for what he had done, but, as the First Reading also reminds us today, the effects of sin remain even when sins are forgiven. In Catholic teaching we call this the temporal effects of sin: Uriah is not coming back from the dead, nor the men that died alongside him in the battle, and now David’s child by Uriah’s wife is struck mortally ill as well.
Sin leaves its mark, even when we’re repentant for it. Even hardened sinners will admit to that. Let’s continue to detest sin in our lives, not just because of what it does to us, but because of what it does to others as well.