Dear Faith Family,
This Sunday’s Gospel is one that we have heard countless times, for good reason. There are so many things to take to heart from this reading. We learn about who perfect judgment comes from, we learn about how we should conduct ourselves and we learn about the immense nature of God’s mercy.
How many times have we been in situations where we are quick to condemn? I don’t bring this up to make any of us feel bad, but I bring it up to help us to recognize our imperfection. We are truly human and obviously because of our nature, we are imperfect. This is also common when it comes to our own lives and the mistakes that we have made. How many times have we condemned ourselves, thinking that there is no way to turn back to goodness?
Jesus’ mercy in this Gospel really stands out. He doesn’t affirm the adultery that was committed by the woman, nor does he affirm the men who were looking to condemn her. What does he express instead? Mercy. Our Lord understands that none of us are perfect, but instead of simply saying “oh well, nobody is perfect”, He instructs Mary Magdalen to “not sin anymore”.
This hits especially hits me hard. How easy could it have been to ignore her sin and enable her in the face of the men who were committing an evil against her? How easy could it have been to be too firm about her sin, and scare her with the threat of condemnation? These might be the two approaches that I would be tempted with, but our Lord shows both compassion and the pathway to a strong, moral life.
Lent is so interesting because, from the moment that we receive our ashes, we are asked to repent. Repent seems like a heavy word prescribed for heathens, but to repent is an instruction to “turn back”. With this Gospel, it is obvious that it leads to a strong life of discipleship for Mary Magdalene. I have a feeling that she wasn’t perfect, but she really took the instruction to sin no more, seriously.