Sun, 29 March 2020
(Dn.13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62; Ps.23:1-6; Jn.8:1-11)
“Let the man among you who has no sin
be the first to cast a stone at her.”
“Then the audience drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders.” And no one was left to accuse her.
In both our gospel and our first reading a woman is accused of adultery, one justly, the other unjustly. Yet both are freed. For under the old law the innocent were to be set free, but under the new, even the guilty. In the blood of Christ sinners are saved from the fate they deserve; the Lord does not condemn us, and only He has power to do so – for it is always against Him that we sin.
It is curious to note that in both reading and gospel the accused woman is brought before the man against whom she is principally accused of sinning. In the case of Susanna, it is her husband Joakim to whom the people come with their difficult questions, “because he was the most respected of them all”; and the woman in the gospel is brought before Jesus, the Lord and the bridegroom of us all. It is only wed to Him that we find salvation, and He does not disappoint the repentant adulteress today. Nor shall He condemn any of us who stand before Him weeping for our sins against His pure love.
There is a “dark valley” through which we all must walk. One day we shall all stand before the Judge. Some will be persecuted only for righteousness’ sake, accused of that which they have not committed; others will stand in the full light of their sin. But all before Christ might find forgiveness, if they but realize their faults and who it is stands before them. For the love of God is unimaginable; it is not something we humans can put our fingers upon. The love of God and the grace and mercy He holds forth will never be deserved by our race. Yet they are there. Yet are we washed clean. Yet the Truth will set us free.
Let no man condemn another; “the angel of God waits” “to receive the sentence from Him” – none of us is able to move His hand. And so, always we must forgive to find His grace alive in our souls.
O LORD, open the gate that we might enter in
and dwell in your presence.
YHWH, let all hear and heed the voice of your Son, who is the true Shepherd leading repentant souls to salvation. Send your apostles into every house that all might hear the call of Jesus, be purged in the fire of the Holy Spirit, and come to dwell in your House, beholding your holy face.
Let us be led forth by the Christ to your mountain, O God. Make us one flock in Him, all as your blessed children. O let us be as sheep slaughtered for your table, joining your Son on the altar of sacrifice; by His voice let us be cut to the heart and in our repentance become a holy offering to you.
False prophets keep far from us, dear LORD, those who work but for pay, who care nothing for your flock. In the Spirit send forth disciples to lead to running water those who thirst for you, O living God.