“Corruptio optima pessima est” is an often quoted Latin adage. It means there is nothing worse than a very good person who has gone bad.
Our readings today give us three examples of the opposite of that. In King David, in Saul of Tarsus, and the town’s sinful woman, we see three of the worse people becoming the best people. It show us there is hope even for us.
Jerusalem, in David’s time, was all one story houses where families could have private roof gardens and bathing facilities. It was only the palace that had the right to one higher floor. It was from there that David spied Bathsheba bathing.
Some time after he had his way with her, Bathsheba sent David word that she was with his child. David, thinking he could neatly cover up the matter; sent for her husband, arranging for him to sleep with his wife. When Uriah, a noble warrior, refused to comfort himself with his wife, David had him killed in battle.
David remained insensitive to his crime until a man of God made him aware of his ugliness. But after he changed his life, becoming the author of heart rending Penitential Psams, his goodness became a hundred times greater than his wickedness had been..
Saul of Tarsus, a great persecutor of Christianity, became its greatest champion. And the woman in the Gospel rose from the ranks of the town’s lowly women, to becoming a soul canonized by Jesus himself.
If we were scholarly enough, we could say, “Redemptio pessima optima est.”