Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak Jesus appeared in the Temple again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them.
Then the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They made her stand in front of everyone. «Master», they said, «this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now the Law of Moses orders that such women be stoned to death; but you, what do you say?». They said this to test Jesus, in order to have some charge against him. Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. And as they continued to ask him, He straightened up and said to them, «Let anyone among you who has no sin be the first to throw a stone at her». And He bent down again, writing on the ground.
As a result of these words, they went away, one by one, starting with the elders, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Then Jesus stood up and said to her, «Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?». She replied, «No one». And Jesus said, «Neither do I condemn you; go away and don't sin again».
When accusation is brought before us, the first thing that we would like to apply is social justice. There is nothing wrong in this approach. As Christians, we are called to act in our humanity, in a divinely manner, filled with love and compassion. If we are innocent like Suzanna or like this adulterous woman, we should never fail to invoke Jesus, because His mercy has no limit.
An act of love and compassion, not only saved this woman, but the whole society of committing a violent act, which will produce no good, neither for the society, nor for the individual. The more we are influenced with this divine mercy, better will be our society.
Today’s gospel does invite us to look into our own life and surrender before the divine mercy. We may not always feel and sense the divine presence, but the Lord is always there with us, in silence, doing what He should do, than what we wish Him to do. We should give God the place and space He deserves, than making Him as our servant, a faithful one, who accomplishes our personal desires, though holy they may be.
Again and again He proves to us that He is here, not to judge us, but to save us. It’s high time that we believe in this divine mercy and get converted.
Action of the day: Be compassionate and merciful.
«Go away and don't sin again»
Fr, Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells
(Salt, Girona, Spain)
Today, we are given to see in the Gospel the merciful face of Jesus. God is love, and Love that forgives, Love that takes pity on our failings, Love that saves. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees «brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery» (Jn 8:4) and they asked the Lord: «But you, what do you say?» (Jn 8:5). They were not as much interested in following Jesus' teachings as they were in accusing him of going against the Mosaic Law. But the Master takes advantage of this occasion to manifest that He has come to seek the sinners, to straighten out the fallen, to call them to conversion and to penance. And this is for us the message for Lent, inasmuch as we are all sinners and we all need God's saving grace.
Today, it is said that the sense of sin has been stifled. There are many who do not know what is good or bad, nor why. It is like saying —in a positive way— that the sense of Love for God has been quenched: of God's Love for us, and the reciprocity this Love exacts from us. He who loves does not offend. He, who recognizes being loved and forgiven, renders love for Love: «They asked the Friend which was the source of love. He answered, the one where the Beloved has cleansed our faults» (Raymond Llull).
This is why, the sense of conversion and penance during Lent is to confront us face-to-face with God, to look straight into the eyes of God in the Cross, to personally go and confess our sins to Him by way of the sacrament of Penance. And, Jesus will tell us, as He did with the woman in the Gospel: «Neither do I condemn you… go away and don't sin again» (Jn 8:11). God forgives, and, on our side, this entails a demand, a commitment: Do not sin again!
Mary, haven of sinners, pray for us!