“Neither do I condemn you.

04-07-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

We are just one week away from the Holy Week and away from our celebration of God’s love shown in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. For us Christians this season of Lent is a time of special grace in which we experience the presence of a personal God who cares and loves us. Our response is to transform ourselves and live according to his will. We want to do something new and come to him in obedience and freedom. We ought to change our lives during Lent and come closer to him. Therefore the Church calls this season as a joyful time, because it is our preparation for the future joy of Easter that approaches us bringing his blessings, mercy and forgiveness. As we approach to the end of our Lenten season, we are reminded of our last opportunity to cooperate with God’s graces and his benevolent love. 

During today’s First Reading, we heard the prophetic Words of the Lord God speaking to the prophet Isaiah. Yahweh begins by identifying Himself. He says that it was He who created Israel. It was He who led the Exodus of His people under the leadership of Moses. It was He who divided the Red Sea and who destroyed the great army of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Yet he tells them to look ahead and not look back into the past. The past always closes our minds does not allow us to see things of the present as they are. Therefore the Lord promises to the people “I am about to do a new thing.” In other words at every moment he creates new things for us.

As St Paul tells us in the 2nd reading of today, “All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14). This is what our Lenten journey is about.  It is a moment to experience the Grace of God.  It is a time to rejoice in the saving justice of God (Rom 8:33-34). It is moment to look at the Truth about ourselves. It is a time of soul-searching. 

We have the Gospel of today telling us of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus protects her and forgives her totally not before asking her to reform her life. Certainly she would choose to be his follower for through forgiveness he brought divine love in her. When Jesus is alone with the woman, as St. Augustine puts it: “Relicti sunt duo: Mesira et misericordia (Latin: ‘Left are two: the misery and the mercy), he asks her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” The woman answers: “No one, sir.” Then Jesus says: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore,” (Jn 8:10-11). In effect, Christ is saying to her that she has given a chance. She has to prove this that she can do better the next time. In other words, while not approving of the sin, he very definitely refuses to condemn the sinner. This season of Lent urges us not to be judgmental of others. We are all sinners and in need of God’s mercy. Only God has the right to judge people because He alone is perfect.