Tuesday, April 16, 2019

5th Sunday of Lent C: I Do Not Condemn You

APRIL 7, 2019

Jesus, I trust in you!

The woman really deserved to die because she was caught in the act of adultery which was punishable with death by stoning. She was brought by the scribes and Pharisees to Jesus to test him. Jesus said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And in response, they went away one by one, leaving her alone standing before Jesus. She could have taken that opportunity to run away and escape death but she stood still before him. After all, the one who was left behind had all the right to execute her because he is the sinless One. Jesus, the Son of God, received from his Father the right to judge: “The Father judges no one, but he has given all judgement to the Son so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” (John 5:22-23) She did not escape because she was guilty and deserved the punishment. She stood there and waited for execution.

But Jesus asked her: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she replied. Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, do not sin anymore.” Jesus had the authority to judge but for that moment, he did not use that authority. The sinless One refused to condemn the sinner. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

The Lord refused to condemn the woman even though she deserved to be condemned. In like manner, he refuses to condemn us who are all as guilty as the woman. Instead, he allowed himself to be condemned to death. He, the sinless One, took upon himself the condemnation we deserved. He let go of the stone which he could have used against us. He let free his hand of the rock of condemnation so that he may embrace the Cross and be crucified on it to atone for our sins. He took upon himself the heavy price of death which our sins deserved. This he did to satisfy the demands of Divine Justice so that he can be merciful to us. Forgiving our sins, the Lord puts them behind us. He remembers not our past, the things of long ago. Instead, he makes all things new. He makes a path in the desert. He tells us to “forget what lies behind but strain forward to what lies ahead.” On the Cross, the Lord makes all things new.

Thus, he tells us what he told the adulterous woman: “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” He reminds us of the executed Galileans and the 18 people who perished at the collapse of the tower of Siloam and reminds us: “If you do not repent, you will perish as they did.” He rejoices at our return to him as the Father rejoiced at the return of his prodigal son. He rejoices to have us back safe and sound.

But from now on, do not sin anymore because one day, he will come to judge the living and the dead. “(The Father) gave him the power of judgment because he is the Son of Man…The hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.” Let us repent while we can. He will not condemn us. Let us not wait for our sins to accuse us. Let us turn to him for the Lord says: “Even now, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.” (Joel 2: 2-3)

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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