Apr 7 2019 Reflection
Sunday 7 April 2019
First Reading: IS 43:16-21
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Second Reading: PHIL 3:8-14
Gospel Reading: JN 8:1-11
Today’s Note: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more. (John 8:11)
Wouldn’t you love to know what happened to this woman after she left Jesus that unforgettable day? John doesn’t tell us. In fact, we almost never learn what happened to people in the Gospels after Jesus healed or forgave them. But these were real people who probably lived many years after their encounter with him. So let’s try to imagine what happened next for this woman.
Jesus’ refusal to condemn her must have affected her to the core. His act of mercy saved her life, not just physically, but spiritually as well. Maybe she was so grateful to Jesus that she became one of his followers. Maybe she went back to her husband to be reconciled. One thing we can’t imagine is that she went back to living the way she had in the past.
This is what happens when we have an encounter with God’s mercy. Our gratitude for what Jesus has done for us leads us to follow him more closely. It softens our heart and helps us be more merciful toward other people. And we receive the grace that strengthens us against further temptation to sin.
Do you want to have this kind of encounter? It’s yours for the asking! The words Jesus spoke to this woman are essentially the same words the priest says to us in Confession: “I absolve you from your sins.” Even if you feel as if other people are condemning you, even if you are condemning yourself, Jesus doesn’t condemn you. He forgives you. He saves you.
Over these next two weeks, take advantage of the opportunities that will be offered at your parish or one nearby to go to Confession. Let Jesus’ mercy set you free. Then spend the remaining days leading up to Easter thanking him for loving you so much. Let your gratitude move you to follow your Savior even more closely—and to be just as merciful to the people around you as he is to you.
“Jesus, thank you for your unending mercy!”