Neither Do I Condemn You

handSome people like to be center stage. They are natural born entertainers who feed off and thrive on audience responses. Other people, like me, avoid this kind of attention focused on themselves. Might we surmise that the woman in our Gospel today was hardly happy about being center stage? Her life hung in the balance. How would Jesus respond to the challenge of the scribes and Pharisees? Hardly the way anyone anticipated!

The scribes and Pharisees wished to make this woman an example of her as a grave sinner deserving of death. Ironically, Jesus makes an example of them as sinners and they turned away from him and went away! Once they were faced with their own sinfulness and the futility of their test, they chose not to remain with the One who would grant them forgiveness and mercy, reconciliation and new life. The woman, however, remained with Jesus.  And for this choice, she received forgiveness, mercy, new life. [Living Liturgy 2010]

The center of this gospel is not the woman or her sin- it is  Jesus. He is the one who draws people to himself, teaches, challenges others about the truth of their lives, forgives, commands not to sin again. This is the same Jesus we encounter during Lent. This is the same Jesus who offers us forgiveness and new life.

Jesus did not imprison people by their past actions, but called them to the truth of who they were and the goodness within them.  He freed people from the death of their own sinful actions and offered to those who would remain with him new life.

The deepest truth about ourselves  lies not so much in recognizing our sinfulness as it lies in deepening our relationship with Christ. The closer we become to Christ, the more we recognize our own sinfulness and repent of our ways. Then we hear Christ say to us,” Neither do I condemn you.”

Musical Reflection