Reflections - March 13, 2016

“Neither do I condemn you.  Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”  Jn. 8:11.
 
A few days ago I was reading about the conversion of an ex-prostitute.  She was saying that since she was a little girl she saw her mother being abused by her friends and she was also abused and that this was the environment in which she lived.  Then one day desperately seeking death she went walking through the snow and saw a chapel.  She felt an impulse to enter and she sat down in a pew where she found a prayer that someone had left.  The last part of the prayer ended by saying:  “You are important to me.  Do not sin anymore, your friend, Jesus”.  She then began to cry for almost an hour.  She had found someone who told her she was important!  She had found someone who did not look at her as an object of pleasure.  She had found someone who did not reject her and that someone was Jesus, the Savior.  This young woman says in her testimony that she asked to speak with a priest. She then confessed and began a new life.  Today she maintains a ministry that helps ex-prostitutes, giving them help and hope and educating them for a new job.
 
In today’s Gospel we find Jesus who is presented with an adulterous woman.  The Law of Moses said that she was to be stoned.  Today we know that fundamentalist Muslims in many Middle Eastern countries use this brutal style of punishment toward women.  In Jesus’ case it was a trap because if He said to execute her where would His compassion be.  However, Jesus rejects the law and reminds them:  “that the love and compassion that is the Law of God has its reasons that human law do not know”, especially when the salvation of a human being is at stake.  In Jesus’ time there were more than 60 classes of people that were called impure – the sick, the lepers, the prostitutes, the blind from birth, etc….. Remember the disciples’ question about the man blind from birth.  “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jn. 2:2.
 
Also in this Gospel Jesus prohibits making judgments about others:  “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  We like to throw stones (judge others).  However, the Lord tells us:  “Stop judging and you will not be judged”.  Lk. 6:37.  We sometimes forget that we have been adulterers when we have gone towards other gods – pleasure, power….., and we have abandoned the living and true God.
 
Now that we are only days away from Holy Week, let us make a good confession from everything that dehumanizes us and from everything that makes us live by picking on others.  Let us ask the Lord to give us His grace to have the same feelings that He had.  Let us learn to suffer with Him as a result of our commitment to the will and mercy of God among the “marginalized” in our society.  Let us learn from Jesus.  “He gave everything and did not ask for anything”.
 
I leave you with a phrase from St. John of the Cross:  “at the end of our lives we shall be judged in how we loved”.  (taken from Merciful Vultus no. 15).