Have we experienced the sacrament of reconciliation as a unique sacrament? Are we able to live in that grace after the sacrament? What is our approach towards our fellowmen and women who are not holy, according to us? Have you ever tried to rate yourself?
Here is one incident. In John’s Gospel, chapter 8, we see an adulterous woman is caught in adultery and Jesus response to that incident. As it was a daily activity Jesus was coming from mount olives. People of Israel encountered God in the mount and here Jesus was with God all night. Jesus began his daily ministry after prayer. Silent hours with God, has to be the weapon of a spiritual person. Jesus comes to the temple area, and teaches them.
Today too, people long for proper teaching, Word of God and look towards the spiritual people for it. They do think that they can get it from spiritual people. It is possible only when one gains strength from God daily, by being with Him hours, otherwise one will be teaching his own words than God’s word.
He did not give any publicity for his preaching but God the father attracts people towards Jesus. He was doing his father’s mission. When one does father’s mission it is the father who attracts people, not the speaker or the publicity of the preacher. Jesus has come to accomplish his father’s work. The Pharisees and the scribes brought the adulterous woman. Where is the man with whom she committed the sin? How did he escape?
According to the Moses law, Dt.17:5, if a man or woman caught in adultery; she or he has to be stoned to death. Why they forgot about the man? Or he might have escaped by using various methods. There are occasions, only few are caught, due to influence, money, position many escape. And they act as if nothing is wrong with them. Some even try to continue cheating or exploiting others, and proudly say that none of the laws can catch them. Although they are free, in front of God they cannot escape.
The Pharisees and scribes fail to see themselves very clearly and they thought about them that they are on right track; and condemned the woman according to them who was a worst sinner. This often happens in the society. Are we acting like those who judged the woman but fail to judge themselves? In Mt.7:3, ‘why notice spinster of your brother’s eye and do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?’
What Jesus might be writing with his fingers? Was he writing the law? Yes, he was writing about the law of love and how important that woman is in front of God. She clearly perceives that writing, she saw herself completely in front of Jesus which made her transformation or conversion. Once you are along with Jesus, you will be able to see about yourself very clearly, which can transform you. This might be one of the reasons that people seldom find time along with Jesus, but do not forget the truth that only by the grace of God, one can be converted.
Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw stone at her (8:7). He sees every one’s heart, once they come face to face with Jesus. They went away one by one. This happens very often, many are not willing to accept their fault, they wont go for confession even though they know they are sinners, instead they try to justify themselves with lot of excuses and slowly moves away from the sacrament of reconciliation.
Jesus is telling the woman by calling her woman, accepting that she is the image of god, and gives her full dignity as a human than those people who saw her object who was doing adultery, who supposed to be stoned. Unless one has the deep spiritual mind one is not able to see the divine and human aspect in others, and for them others are only an objects.
Once she has become the image of God; she has discovered her lost image, Jesus reminds her that she should not sin again, as a result she can always be in that God image. Jesus who goes behind the lost sheep saw very clearly the heaven is rejoicing when the woman has returned to God. He replaces the law of sin with the law of love. In fact in every sacrament of reconciliation one is able to discover his or her lost image and becomes the child of God.
See and accept others as Jesus saw them and accepted them.
– – – written by Fr. Biju Maramkuzhackal SVD