In our Gospel this Sunday Jesus is confronted by a group of men who bring a woman to Him to be judged. They expect Jesus to be caught between dismissing the woman’s sin, which would set Jesus against the Commandments, and condemning her for her sin, which would set Jesus against His own message of mercy. What the mob of angry men do not seem to realize is that they have entered into the ritual act of condemnation under the Law of Moses by bringing a sinner before the priest to be judged. The judge would then write on the ground the commandment that had been broken and the name of the accused. When Jesus leaned down to write, they must have recognized the ritual, how they were treating Jesus (as their priest and law-giver), and what would come next. The second time Jesus bends down to write, they scatter. Whose name would he write? My own? They realized that they brought forward the woman caught in adultery, but not the guilty man, so they were not following the Law themselves. They were now guilty of bearing false witness and could be stoned for that crime. Now they think: is this man Jesus, who has proven himself to be a prophet, about to reveal my sins to the whole world? So they sneak away in shame.
Brothers and sisters, before we jump to condemn the sins of others, let us take a good look at ourselves. We have nothing to fear from Jesus. We hear Him say: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” He has washed away our sins in His Blood. Our guilt He has carried on the Cross. When we Confess our sins we are made new by Him who makes all things new. Then we, too, are strengthened by His grace to “Go, and sin no more.”
If you have not yet celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation, please join me Saturday evenings before Mass from 3:30 pm-4:30 pm, or give me a call. I am happy to drop everything for Confession whenever you need.