Unless We Repent

When I was in grade school, I broke a thermos bottle while playing one summer. I felt so bad because I know what I did was really a waste of money that could have been better spent for family needs. Knowing then that it’s expensive, I already thought of ways on how I can raise funds to buy a new bottle. It seemed impossible to achieve. However, I was surprised that Mom wasn’t all that mad and forgave me wholeheartedly. It was something I didn’t expect to happen easily.

Similarly, we find the loving and compassionate heart of Jesus quite hard to easily accept in today’s Gospel. The Fifth Sunday of Lent picks up from last Sunday’s Gospel, and that God showed the extent of His love in forgiving our sinfulness. Today though, we hear not a parable, but a story of an encounter between Jesus, the Scribes and Pharisees and a woman caught in adultery.

It seems too good to be true that God is so forgiving. It is like the kind of mercy a parent shows when they still believe in their child who has done great wrong (like me then!). Our Lord Jesus’ response to those who accuse the woman is like a warning to us about making a judgment on others. It is a lesson so compelling that we ought to remember we will also stand before God someday. It is so profound in meaning to remind us that as sinners we are all unworthy to judge others, knowing our very own sinfulness. And yet, Jesus, the one who is sinless, offers us mercy and forgiveness.

Let us start by looking at how we treat others at home, at work, and in the office. When we are hard on others, it’s because we are hard on ourselves and cannot really believe we are loved. It is said that the light of God’s mercy is so bright that “you can no longer see the stars that are our sins and faults”. Maybe this is another meaning to the statement of Jesus when he says that he is the “light of the world”.

This season, the Lord challenges us to sin no more and to live in God’s love and peace. Let us remember that unless we repent, it is not possible to be healed by Jesus’ redeeming blood on the cross without our own consent and cooperation.

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