March 23 – Forgiven
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”
Jesus often went off on His own to pray and be alone with His Father. Find time to be alone, either at adoration or alone in your bedroom, with God and allow Him to speak to your heart.
Jesus then came down and taught in the temple. While there, the Pharisees brought a woman ready to be stoned to test Jesus and see what He would do. Jesus did the unexpected: he didn’t answer their questions and began writing on the ground. Thinking He was ignoring them, they kept asking Him for an answer. Finally rising, He asks for the sinless to throw the first stone, then returned to writing. Jesus was not sent to condemn us to death, but to give us new life. Our sin makes us all equal. A liar is no less a sinner than a murderer. An adulterer is no greater than a thief. The punishments may be different, but sin is sin, and we must admit our own sinfulness before Jesus. No one in the crowd wanted to do that, and the words Jesus was writing may have been each of their own sins, which could have condemned them also to death. Starting with the eldest (the leader who was leading them away from God), all left except for the woman, who remained.
She was there standing before HIm, face to face with Jesus. We also have the opportunity to face Jesus and ask for forgiveness for our sins in Reconciliation. In the confessional, the priest is standing in place of Jesus, not to condemn, but to forgive completely. Jesus did not tell the woman He absolved her of just the one sin that she brought to Him, but forgives her all of her sins and sends her away telling her to sin no more.
As she left Jesus (who must have still be kneeling since He looked up at her), she too probably looked at the ground to see what He had written. I suggest she might have read, “FORGIVEN”.
Lent in Action:
If you have not gone to Reconciliation yet this Lent, go this week and accept complete forgiveness.
Dearest Lord Jesus, help me to not condemn others for their sins before first examining my own sinfulness.Please help me to come before you and ask for forgiveness for my sins and help me to sin no more. Amen.