For this Fifth Sunday of Lent we read the passage from the Gospel of John about a woman caught in adultery. The scribes and Pharisees brought the woman before Jesus, hoping to severely punish her. As we meditate with this passage from scriptures, I think there are two lessons we can take from it.
First, we should ask: “Is it our role to judge a person for his/her sins? Do we truly have the autonomy to do so?” After reading this Gospel, the answer is no. Even speaking about someone’s sins is an act of judgment. It affects the good name and dignity of the person, and it is a sin in itself. The sacrament of Confession is not a judgement, rather a moment of mercy. The priest acts in Persona Christi, meaning Christ forgives the person’s sins through the ministry of the priest.
The second teaching moment is about God’s mercy. After everyone left, Jesus asked the woman, “… where are they?” And this is the great moment of mercy in the Gospel, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
During this year, we are learning about God’s great mercy toward us. He is truly a merciful father who is willing to forgive our sins as long as we recognize them. He also tells us “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
God bless you all.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.