Monday, March 10, 2008

Forgiveness and Mercy: A Reflection on Today’s Gospel

By Jean M. Heimann


John 8: 1 - 11

In today's gospel, Jesus forgives Mary Magdalene of her sins, while the Pharisees condemn her. Each time I read this passage, I can't help but think of the woman in our own day who has not only slept with a man and become pregnant, and has sought an abortion as a way out of the situation.

Society condemns her of her grievous sin, yet what good does that do the sinner? Does it encourage her to repent and reach out to God in her misery? Each one of us is capable of committing the most serious of sins due to our fallen nature. I wonder how many of these upright Pharisees preparing to cast their stones had actually participated in the sin of adultery with her.

Jesus seems to be writing something on the ground -- is it the sins of the Pharisees? He is alone with the woman and looks upon her in her frightened and lowly state and He pardons her, opening up His heart of tender love and mercy to her. In the words of Fr. Philippe, OP, "As soon as Jesus sees someone admit their sins, He enables the image of God to be reborn in them, and He gives them new life again." *

Prayer: Father, help me to reach out to someone today -- especially those ensnared in the culture of death -- to rescue them from the darkness and lead them into the light of Your love.

Action Options:

1. Gather up gently used baby clothing and donate it to a crisis pregnancy center.

2. Recite one decade of the rosary for someone who has had an abortion to receive healing.

3. Encourage someone you know who has been involved in an abortion to make a Rachel's Vineyard weekend, which is open to both men and women. Go here for the Rachel's Vineyard Men's Page. You can find the 2008 schedule here.

* Quote taken from Return to me ... Daily Meditations for Lent by Fr. Philippe, OP, Priest, Philosopher and Founder of The Community of St. John, complied by the Sisters of St. John

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