THE ADULTEROUS WOMAN
Forgiveness and Moving Forward
In today’s Gospel, Jesus judges the woman caught in adultery. He does not judge her as the scribes and Pharisees would have done. Jesus says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her”. The Law of Moses commands her to be stoned. Instead, he surprises them enormously: he asks them to reflect within themselves before acting on their judgment. He judges neither them nor her. Finally, he is left alone with the woman, to whom he grants pardon: “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, andfrom now on do not sin again.” (cf. John Ch. 8.1-11). After her initial surprise, the woman certainly went on her way in great joy and hope.
Today’s three readings are full of hope, calling us to focus on the future. God does not want us to dwell in a “Pity Party” because of past mistakes, errors, bad choices or sins. True, they happened and we may have taken a detour, but we are already pardoned and a new path is open to us, always.
Already in Isaiah, God told the people to “not remember former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; Do you not perceive it?” (cf. Is. Ch.43.16-21). The “new thing” is always available; we have only to perceive it and follow its call.
Eventually, detours come to an end, and the original highway is again available. We rejoice that we have found our own way. When we remember that God is with us, has always been with us – even on the detours (especially then!) we can move on in hope once again, no matter how often this happens. Conversion, turning around and moving onward happens each time we are open like the adulteress to whatever graces God desires to give us.
St. Paul, in Philippians, repeats this same call: “forgetting what lies behind andstraining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenlycall of God in Christ Jesus.”(cf. Philippians 3.80-14)
If we have made wise use of our Lenten Tools (Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving), our journey is well worthwhile, in spite of any struggles, difficulties we may have had on the way.
We beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Collect -5thSunday of Lent) Submitted by S. Janice Fournier, p.m.