We all need forgiveness

by | Mar 15, 2013 | Reflections

Cross and Bible

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year C — 2103

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (Mk. 1:15)

It is early morning and already those reputed to be important try to ruin the Teacher’s day. They have in mind killing two birds with one stone: an adulteress, that she die, and Jesus, that he fall into their trap, so they may accuse him of violating either the Mosaic law, if he condones her, or if he condemns her, the Roman law that supposedly does not allow Jews to put anyone to death (Jn. 18:31).

Jesus bends down as if not to recognize the presence of those morality secret agents who serve as prosecutor, judge and jury all at once. Casually, he writes on the ground with his finger and thus indicates that he is not interested to play such hypocritical game. It is not yet his time to sit on his glorious throne and hold the final judgment.

But since they continue to ask him, he intervenes. Then, he displays once again his lack of interest in the question posed. In effect, through his intervention, he disregards the matter of condemning or condoning and replaces it with that of repentance and salvation.

Jesus does not condemn the accusers; he only asks that they examine themselves. They are perhaps not guilty of physical adultery, but could they have committed adultery in their hearts, even taking part vicariously in the act they watched? One can only imagine how they managed to catch her in the very act of adultery, but by going away one by one, they admit that they are not without sin. Such an admission can be the opening to repentance and the new life.

Jesus opens the door of repentance and salvation to the adulteress. Without overlooking her sin, he addresses reassuring words to her, the only one caught (where would her accomplice be?), held in public contempt, exceedingly intimidated. He encourages her: let bygones be bygones; instead of remembering the events of the past and considering the things of long ago, she should see to it that her life changes.

Jesus wants the same for us who are just as guilty as she, and equally abused perhaps, frightened and vilified. He assures us that we do not have any reason to feel we are doomed: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

And if we are like the experts and the religious leaders who believe they have the right to enter secretly in order to spy on others and deprive them of freedom (Gal. 2:4), boasting of their infallible knowledge, harsh implementation and irreproachable keeping of traditions, so enamored are they of ancient sources but without any intention that these become incarnate in the present, then Jesus’ will to save us is manifested in another way: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Jesus does not want us to follow the example of the scribes and the Pharisees (Mt. 23:3). Among Christians there should be no sort of tyranny, oppression, jockeying for the first and best positions, blackmailing of supposed rivals, contempt for the poor. What is helpful in the conversion of the strayed is not arrogant power, but rather, as St. Vincent de Paul attests, meekness, humility, patience, kindness, concern for the poor [1].

Let us forget, then, all arrogance and strain forward to the new thing that the Lord is doing, which is noticeably springing forth. We will thus belong to the new and eternal covenant, sealed with the sacrifice of the one who already early in the morning seeks our repentance and salvation, and never our ruin or perdition.

NOTE:

[1] P. Coste I, 66; IV, 53; XI, 34-37.

From Somos Vicentinos:

As is his custom, Jesus has spent the night alone with his beloved Father on the Mount of Olives. He starts the new day filled with the Spirit of God who sends him “to proclaim liberty to captives … and to let the oppressed go free.” Soon he sees himself surrounded by a crowd that comes to the temple court to listen to him.

READ MORE (José Antonio Pagola)

 

VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA

Domingo 5º de Cuaresma, C-2013

Se ha cumplido el plazo, está cerca el reino de Dios (Mc 1, 15)

Muy de mañana y ya los reputados importantes tratan de arruinarle el día al Maestro. Piensan matar dos pájaros de un tiro: una adúltera, que sea apedreada, y Jesús, que caiga en una trampa que les dará motivo para acusarle de infracción o de la ley mosaica, si condona a la mujer, o, si la condena, de la ley romana que supuestamente no les autoriza a los judíos dar muerte a nadie (Jn 18, 31).

Se inclina Jesús como para no reconocer la presencia de aquellos agentes secretos de moralidad que sirven de fiscal criminal, juez y jurado a la vez. De modo despreocupado, escribe con el dedo en el suelo y da a entender que no le interesa jugar ese partido de hipocresía. Aún no es su hora de ser el juez supremo sentado en un trono glorioso.

Pero como insisten en preguntarle, Jesús interviene. Luego muestra otra vez su desinterés por la cuestión planteada. Efectivamente, por medio de su intervención, descarta el asunto de condenación o condonación, sustituyéndolo con el de la conversión y la salvación.

No condena Jesús a los acusadores; solo pide que ellos se examinen. No son culpables quizás del adulterio físico, pero ¿sería que hayan cometido adulterio en su interior, participando siquiera de forma vicaria en el acto que observaron? Cómo consiguieron sorprenderla en flagrante, esto solo se puede imaginar; pero por escabullir uno a uno, admiten que no están sin pecado. Tal admisión puede ser la apertura a la conversión y la vida nueva.

Jesús le abre asimismo la puerta de conversión y salvación a la adúltera. Sin pasar por alto el pecado de ella, dirige palabras tranquilizantes a la agarrada sola, —¿dónde estaría su cómplice?—, expuesta a pública afrenta, intimidada sobremanera. La anima: lo pasado, pasado; en lugar de recordarlo o pensar en ello, que procure ella cambiar de vida.

Lo mismo desea Jesús para nosotros, tan culpables como ella, quizás igualmente abusados, atemorizados, tratados vilmente. Nos asegura que ninguna razón tenemos para darnos por perdidos: «Tampoco yo te condeno. Anda y adelante no peques».

Y si somos como los expertos y los dirigentes religiosos que se creen con derecho a meterse en secreto para espiar a otros y privarles de su libertad (cf. Gal 2, 4), jactándose de su conocimiento infalible, su implementación severa y su observancia intachable de las tradiciones, tan enamorados que están de las fuentes antiguas pero sin intentar que éstas se encarnen en la actualidad, entonces nos manifiesta Jesús su deseo de salvarnos de otra forma: «El que esté sin pecado, que le tire la primera piedra».

No quiere Jesús que hagamos lo que hacen los escribas y los fariseos (Mt. 23, 3). Entre los cristianos nada de tiranía, opresión, maniobras para conseguir los primeros y mejores puestos, chantaje a supuestos rivales, desprecio o indiferencia para con los pobres. Lo que ayuda en la conversión de los descarriados no es el poder arrogante sino, como atestigua san Vicente de Paúl, la mansedumbre, la humildad, la paciencia, la cordialidad, la preocupación por los pobres (I, 130; IV, 54; XI, 727-730).

Olvidémonos, pues, de toda arrogancia y nos lancemos hacia lo nuevo que el Señor realiza, algo que ya está brotando de modo notable. Así seremos de la alianza nueva y eterna, sellada con el sacrificio del que al almanecer ya busca nuestra conversión y nuestra salvación, y nunca nuestra ruina ni nuestra perdición.

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