While Mother Teresa is certainly famous for the charity with which she poured herself out in love for Christ in the distressing disguise of lepers, AIDS victims, the dying, and the untouchables, she was likewise a great “Missionary of Mercy” in calling everyone to receive Jesus’ forgiving love in the Sacrament of Confession, a Sacrament she received at least once a week. She would counsel others, “One thing is necessary for us: Confession. Confession is nothing but humility in action. We call it Penance, but really it is a Sacrament of Love, a Sacrament of forgiveness. It is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, that destroys. A confession is a beautiful act of great love. Only in confession can we go in as sinners with sin and come out as sinners without sin. … There’s no need for us to despair, no need for us to commit suicide, no need for us to be discouraged if we have understood the tenderness of God’s love.” She said elsewhere, very simply, “Confession is Jesus and me, and nobody else.” And then she told us, “Remember this for life.”
Lent invites us to reflect on God’s unconditional love and mercy for humanity. Last week we meditated on the parable of the prodigal son. Read the Gospel for this weekend, Close your eyes for a moment and see this story like a movie. The scribes and the Pharisees were constantly looking for something so they can trap Jesus. All of sudden, they found an adulterous woman. While Jesus was teaching, they brought this woman and threw her in front of Jesus. They thought they got him. Jesus has to oppose the law or agree that she should die. They thought his hands were tied. There was a moment of silence. We read in the Gospel that Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. The silence might have great power. Finally, He spoke, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
What a profound scene? Jesus was not promoting adultery. He was not teaching against marriage. They are no question that adultery is a sin. It violates the Ten Commandments, destroys marital covenant, destroys families, you name it, then how come Jesus tells her, go and sin no more. Jesus has something profound message for us. We see in the Gospel, that He continued writing on the ground. The scribes and the Pharisees left one by one. In a way, they were accepting their sinfulness. Then Jesus looked at the woman, and asked her “has no one condemned you?”, so neither I condemn you, now go, do not sin no more.
Jesus came to find the lost one. The woman caught in adultery didn’t leave the scene with shame, but with new spirit and dignity. How many of us might have stood in the position of Jesus, but did we give life and dignity to the person who was in front of us or send him/her with shame? On the other hand, how many of us might be ashamed of ourselves. Did we go to Jesus to get forgiveness and return with dignity?
Traditionally it is said that this woman was Mary Magdalene. She became a close follower of Jesus and she was first to the experience of the Resurrection. What is my/your personal experience with Jesus? Let us pray for the courage and humility to receive unconditional love from Jesus. Jesus gave us Sacraments thought his passion, death, and resurrection. During Lenten season he invites us to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Holy Week.