Monday, 3 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the Scripture readings, from the Book of Daniel the prophet, where we heard the false accusation done by two elders of Israel against the faithful woman, Susanna. The two elders went wayward and disobeyed the Lord, allowing their lust and desire to take over their minds and bodies, and caused them to sin before the Lord and before their fellow men.

They were the elders entrusted with the guardianship and judgment over the people. They were supposed to be those who were most well versed in the matter of the Law and the commandments of God, and yet, they misused their authority to satisfy their own selfish desires. They presented false testimonies and accusations against the innocent, just because they wanted to cover the tracks of their own sins and wickedness.

But God would not allow His faithful ones to suffer such injustice. And therefore through the work of Daniel, God rescued Susanna from the hands of the two elders who wanted to see her destroyed while concealing their sins. They wanted to accuse others of their sins, but they themselves were judged and condemned because of their own sins. This is what is reinforced by what we heard in today’s Gospel, where we heard how Jesus dealt with those who wanted to persecute and punish the woman who had been caught in the midst of committing adultery.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law wanted to test Jesus by using the woman who had been accused of committing adultery, to see if He would judge her and therefore, they themselves could use whatever He was to say against Him. That was just how wicked those who were opposed to Jesus were, as they were prepared to manipulate and to take advantage of the situation to serve their own purposes.

But Jesus knew what was in their hearts, and He did not fall for the trickery. If He had condemned the woman, then He would be in trouble, because He had walked often among prostitutes and the tax collectors, then the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law would condemn Jesus for His frequent sorties and work among those considered as sinners. It was believed then that if one was to come into contact with sinners, they would be defiled as well.

If Jesus had not condemned the woman, then it would have been used to condemn Him either way, as an arbitrary person who did not recognise or turned a blind eye on sin committed by the woman. But that is when Jesus, Who in His wisdom knew what to do, chose instead to reveal that very fact which many people, especially the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, loathed to admit, that everyone is a sinner.

Thus He simply asked all of them, that the one who was without sin ought to cast the first stone against her. And indeed, no one raised even a stone against her, and beginning from the oldest ones among them, who have lived the longest, and therefore arguably having committed the most sins in their lives, left the woman behind and went away. Eventually every one of those who wanted to punish the woman and those who wanted to test Jesus went away. No one was without sin, and they were all aware of it, as much as many of them loathed to admit the fact.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, by knowing this fact, all of us should understand just how fortunate we are to have God with us, on our side, guiding us and caring for us. Jesus was the only One Who was without sin at that time, and yet, He did not judge the woman and punish her. Instead, He gave the woman a new chance and an opportunity. He said to her, “Go and sin no more.”

This is what we need to remember, brothers and sisters in Christ. It is often that we misunderstood the Lord and His desire for us to be forgiven. Many of us thought that God is ever merciful and loving, and we often used this instance of how Jesus forgave the woman who committed adultery as the reason to back up our claim that God will forgive whatever sins we commit in life.

Yet, if we understand what the Lord wants from us, then we are really mistaken, brethren. For while God is merciful and He wants us to be reconciled with Him, this depends also on the acceptance on our side, of the forgiveness which He had given freely to all of us. And what does acceptance mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is precisely the words, “Go and sin no more.” And that means, total and complete repentance, the sincere regret and penance for our sins.

It is what we need to do from now on, brothers and sisters in Christ. And it is what we need to proclaim and tell to our fellow brethren, all those who are still lost in the darkness, so that each and every one of us may find our way to the Lord and His salvation. God will forgive us, only if we sincerely turn our ways back away from our sinful past, and embrace wholeheartedly the forgiveness, by practicing what is righteous and just in our actions, sinning no more and doing what is right from now on.

Let us all pray, brothers and sisters, for the conversion of the whole world to Christ. Let us all pray, that mankind will be able to turn away from sin, and become faithful disciples and followers of our God, so that no more people, no more souls will fall into the eternal damnation in hell fire. May God be with us all, and may He forgive us all our sins, all of us who desire to be forgiven. Amen.

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