“Falling at the feet of our Compassionate and Merciful Saviour and hearing Him telling us: ‘Neither do I condemn you! Go, from now on… sin no more!’”
(Based on Isa 43:16-21, Phil 3:8-14 and Jn 8:1-11 – 5th Sunday in Lent, Cycle C)
A small boy had done something wrong.
Unfortunately for him, he got caught up by his elder brother.
Caught red-handed, the little boy found himself, in the midst of a room full of elders…
… stern and hard-looking – waiting to scold him!
(The elders wanted the boy to understand the seriousness of his offence)
The boy looked at each one – with a sense of remorse and guilt -and a tear-stained face.
Seeing no sign of any of the elders relenting, the little boy burst into tears and asked:
“Oh, won’t somebody forgive me?”
Forgiveness is a treasure, that is sought after by many people in our world today
So many are broken… so many are hurt… so many are guilty
… they have committed mistakes, knowingly
… they have fallen into wrongs, without being aware
… they got trapped into situations of errors and faults
But each of them… asks us a question:
“Oh, won’t somebody forgive me?”
The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful testimony of a person who…
… found herself at the lowest ebbs of her life
… when everybody seemed to reject her
… and all seemed over and out!
… was able to receive acceptance and forgiveness
… found herself to be called to renew her life
… and be given a chance, to live life anew!
And all this… by the Grace and Power of the Lord, who intervened, and instilled a new hope and zeal in her…
… giving her an answer to the question: “Oh, won’t somebody forgive me?”
The incident in focus is the ‘infamous’ occurrence of the woman who was “caught” in adultery (Jn 8:1-11)
This is the story…
… of a tragic failure in life.
… of immense shame in life.
… of generous grace in life.
There are so many things to be pondered and reflected on, through this incident…
Think of the “mean” and “disgraceful” attitude of the people who “caught” this woman “in the act” (Jn 8:3)
… Were they fitted with “special probing and lusty” eyes that devilishly gazed into “intimate exchanges”, that too on an early morning?
Think of the “self-appointed” role of these “moralists” who sought to restore the innocence of the land, without realising that, perhaps, their own eyes were filled with lust, their hearts drenched in obscenity and their lives soaked in vulgarity.
… How was it that their “clean” consciences and “true” intentions caught hold of only the woman, “caught in the act”, whereas, the man involved, was left, scot-free?
Think of the “deadly” trap that they were laying before the Lord, in seeking to find his opinion on the accused woman
How neatly they had trapped the Lord in a “most vicious” dilemma:
… if the Lord permitted death, it would be going against the Law of the land – of the Romans – since only the Romans were permitted to take the life of a person
… if the Lord did not allow to stone, He would be going against the Law of the Lord, which had ordered the stoning of the convicted adulterer to death.
… if the Lord permitted killing, He would be going against His own teaching of mercy, and His fundamental mission of “coming to seek and save the lost”
… if the Lord forgave her, He would be going against the principle of Justice, and that would be infringing the rights and duties of a Just God.
It was a near-perfect scene, for the religious leaders to dreadfully trap the Lord.
The woman had been caught “in the act” of adultery…
Jesus was now to be trapped “in the act” of breaking the Law…
The woman had been shamefully paraded and stripped of all her dignity…
Jesus was now to be gloriously humiliated and disrobed of His glory and majesty…
But all these were “mere” human thinking and wile wishes…
The wisdom of God is much greater than all human craftiness and cunningness
The mercy of the Lord extends much beyond all human wickedness and maliciousness.
In their wickedness, they failed to see, that they were testing the law with the Law-Giver Himself!
And so, the Benevolent Law-giver, bent down, and wrote with His finger… (Jn 8:6)
… just as He had, centuries back, written the Law on the tablet and given to Moses: “… tablets that were made by God, having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God Himself” (Ex 32:16)
He wrote, not a new law…
… but He wrote to make the law perfectly understood..
He wrote, not a new commandment…
… but He wrote to make understand the true spirit of the commandment…
“Let the one who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn 8:7)
This statement shattered all those accusers who heard it!
Those who came to cast the stone had themselves stoned brutally, by the guilt of their sin!
Those who came to enjoy parading the nakedness of the woman, themselves were stripped naked, by their sin and shame!
Justice had triumphed!
Mercy had excelled!
Love had won!
All had left, save the one accused and the One who was Love and Compassion!
The one accused, stood in fear and trembling before the One who recreates and renews!
And so she was given another chance…
… to realise the mistakes of her life
… to amend her life
… and to start anew!
Life may very often reduce us also to the same state as this one who was accused.
We may find ourselves crushed….broken…accused… abandoned…shamed!
But the Lord, still gives us a chance….
Prophet Isaiah reminds us of the “forgetfulness of God” when we express repentance over our sins: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing…
… I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert!” (Cf. Isa 43:18-19)
St Paul beautifully echoes the beauty of discovering this precious treasure of knowing the Lord and experiencing His Mercy and Love: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord!” (Phil 3:8)
Let us remember that whenever we find ourselves lost, abandoned, broken, helpless…
… And ask the question: “Oh, won’t somebody forgive me?”
Jesus answers: “I forgive you, My Child!”
Let us fall at the feet of our Compassionate and Merciful Saviour…
… and hearing Him telling us:
“Neither do I condemn you! Go, from now on… sin no more!
I forgive you, My Child!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST’S WORK IN THE LITURGY
“Seated at the right hand of the Father” and pouring out the Holy Spirit on His Body which is the Church, Christ now acts through the sacraments He instituted to communicate His grace.
The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature.
By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify. (CCC # 1084)