If there is one line that perfectly captures all three of Sunday’s (Cycle C) readings, it’s this: God has a very bad memory!
In the First reading, we see Isaiah proclaiming how God will bring about a second exodus for his people, this time from the Babylonian Captivity. Through the prophet, Yahweh says: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!”
In the Second Reading, Paul, who at one time was persecuting and Killing Christians, now speaks of his conversion and says: “I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.”
The Gospel is the familiar story of the woman caught in adultery. The upshot of the story is that Jesus chooses not to punish her, but to give her a second chance, and if necessary a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, etc. He treats her just like he treats us.
Now… are our memories as bad as God’s?
The woman in this story represents every person who has sinned, including you and me. The Scribes and Pharisees, who were sinners too, also represent you and me. We sin in both ways: when we hurt others by indulging our desires at their expense, and when we hurt others by setting ourselves up as superior to them. If we had been there that day, what would we have done? Would we have condemned the guilty woman too? Even during the past week, how many people have we condemned in our hearts or in our words? Are we regular watchers of TV programs which delight in rubbishing people and destroying their lives, or do we forward Internet trash mocking famous and not-so-famous people? How many people have we ourselves passed judgment on?
On the other hand, to how many have we extended a hand of love and compassion?
Love deeply, my friend … salvation depends on it!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.