He Forgives and Forgets (Mar. 13, 2016)

For sure, one woman who was very thankful was the woman caught in adultery this is Sunday’s Gospel. While not condoning what she did, one has to acknowledge that she was being used as a pawn in the never-ending game of “Gotcha” the scribes and Pharisees were playing with Jesus. I would have loved to have been there when Jesus made his “throw the first stone” comment. Just when they think they have Jesus perfectly trapped, he turns it around on them.

But let’s look at the Sunday readings in their entirety. The one consistent message is this: God chooses to have a very bad memory. The First Reading: “(I) remember not the things of the past, the things of long ago (I) consider not. See, I am doing something new.” St. Paul: “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead.” He is able to do this because he has come to know Jesus and he realizes now that Jesus chooses not to play “Gotcha” with us.

Jesus sees the woman as she is: A person who as committed serious sin, but she is also a victim in a game being played by cruel, vicious men. He does not overlook her sin, for adultery is a real evil. But as Jesus said earlier in John’s Gospel, “I have cone not to condemn, but to save.”

Our instinct is to punish and even destroy the wrongdoer. If God acted like the Pharisees or like us how many times would you or I have been condemned or destroyed? But no matter how many times I sin, no matter how seriously I sin, even if the whole of society condemns me and expresses horror and revulsion at my behavior, God calls me to start over again, to change my ways of seeing life and other people. How often does he do this? Once or twice? No, but seventy times seven times! In other words, indefinitely.

I thank God that God has such a poor memory. I thank God that he sees me as I am now, instead of as I used to be. Not that I’m any great shakes now, but I thank God that he understands that I am who I am, and that my heart is in the right place. With his help, tomorrow I will be just a tiny bit more loving, forgiving, and accepting. And if not, then that’s OKthere’s still the day after tomorrow.

Much lovemany prayers!

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