Forgiven and loved

Moments by Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

The story is told about a little boy who was asked: “Do you say a prayer before meals?” The boy answered: “No need.” When asked why, the little boy’s confident answer was: “Because my mother is a good cook!”

In today’s Gospel (John 8, 1-11), we hear the beautiful story of how Jesus saved from death by stoning an adulterous woman, and how Jesus showed her unconditional love and forgiveness. Yes, we can all be confident that our God is a good God, no matter how unworthy we are!

There are people who, like the Scribes and Pharisees, are righteous, observe all the rules, say their prayer before meals, etc. But the problem with such people is that they become self-righteous, judgmental, condescending. May the Lord deliver us from spiritual pride and a sense of entitlement. Please remember, no one has a monopoly over righteousness. We are all sinners. Period.

After Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground, the accusers started to leave one by one. Question: What did Jesus write on the ground? Some say that He enumerated the sins of the accusers one by one, and made them realize that they had no right to throw stones at her. Good rule in life: Stop, look and listen, before you throw stones at others.

Someone once fumed: “There are so many allegations against me. I want to know who those alligators are!” There are many “alligators” around who find joy and meaning in life by being on the lookout for the faults and weaknesses of other people. Alligators, by the way, attack quietly, and from the back.

“Neither do I condemn you.” How beautiful to hear these words from Jesus! How consoling to know that God’s mercy is so deep and so wide, beyond human understanding and imagining. Let us not give in to discouragement and despair when we fall and fail. We must believe and keep on believing in God’s goodness and love.

Whenever we go to confession, we do not only affirm God’s goodness and love. We affirm also our own goodness and love. Don’t miss this grace-filled opportunity to experience God’s acceptance and embrace.

A person who has been given much, must give much in return. A person who has been forgiven much, must also forgive much in return. Let our constant prayer be: Lord, You have forgiven me much. Help me to humbly forgive others, and gratefully love much in return. Amen.

Please remember that forgiveness includes forgiveness of oneself. It is sad that people who have been forgiven by the Lord continue to feel guilt and hopelessness. May we learn to trust more in God’s mercy than in our merits and achievements.

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