Sunday, March 17, 2013

"God never gets tired of forgiving. We get tired of asking for forgiveness. - Let us never tire, let us never tire!”

Do you want to be daring in a holy way, so that God may act through you? Have recourse to Mary, and she will accompany you along the path of humility, so that, when faced by what to the human mind is impossible, you may be able to answer with a fiat! — be it done!, which unites the earth to Heaven. – St Josemaria Escriva

(Gospel Text: JN 8:1-11)
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.”

I’ve always found Jesus’ line in today’s gospel very powerful.  He says “let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  It is so easy for us to condemn others or point out other people’s sins.  When we do so, we tend to think of ourselves as sinless.  It’s like saying, “Look at what he/she did, I could never do anything that bad or sinful!”  We almost forget that we are sinners as well. The really awesome idea here is that God forgives all of us and all of our sins, no matter how small or how big if we ask him through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

What holds you back from receiving His mercy and grace through the Sacrament?

My dear friends, we are getting ready to enter into the most important week of the year.  Yes, Holy Week is ready to begin.  Let us remember the importance of the Sacrament of Confession.

Every time we go to confession we encounter the merciful and kind Jesus.  The repentance of our sins and the forgiveness that we receive allows us to experience true peace.

However, as I have said before, do not be surprised and do not be discouraged by the fact that the spiritual life is and always will be a continual battle.  Embrace your own inner poverty.  Here is where true humility lies.  It is by recognizing our own sinfulness and our own inner poverty that we are able to allow Jesus into our lives.

This is exactly what happens to the adulterous woman.  She did not argue with Jesus.  She did not say that she had not sinned.  She did not justify her sin.

Today, so many people deny the existence of sin.  The only way that we can experience the presence of Jesus in our lives is by recognizing who we really are: sinful creatures in need of redemption.  "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more."

This Sunday's beautiful gospel narrative from John's gospel reminds us that Lent is about personal conversion and change.  Through the Sacrament of Confession we can conquer or sins and our evil inclinations.  We can all change.  We can all experience deep spiritual progress.  Change and progress are always possible.

The encounter between Jesus and the adulterous woman reminds us that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

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