March 18, 2013
John 8: 12-20
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one.
Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Some of the earliest copies of the Gospel of John are missing the story of the adulterous woman. Scholars concluded that some early Christians were embarrassed by Jesus’ willingness to forgive the woman caught in adultery so they purposely edited out Jesus’ interaction with Pharisees.
Can you imagine being ashamed of Jesus because he forgave someone?! Jesus’ genius is in forgiving the woman without abrogating the law she broke. He was even kind to the Pharisees who were using another person’s public shame to trap Jesus. He bent down and broke eye contact so they could walk away with some dignity, which is something they didn’t afford the poor woman in the story.
Jesus forgives the woman and we are grateful that he is willing to forgive us, but forgiveness doesn’t mean we can pretend that what we did didn’t happen. Jesus forgave the woman AND he admonished her to stop sinning. Perhaps today, you can reflect on what Jesus forgives you for, even as he wants you to stop doing something you shouldn’t (or start doing something you should).
—Fr. James Prehn, S.J., Vocations Director for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Lord, what do you ask of me today? Do you implore me to accept your forgiveness? Do you desire my rejection of self-talk that speaks of my unworthiness to receive your mercy? With all my heart, I will name my sin, and I will embrace your forgiveness. Accompanied by your Spirit, I will approach this day liberated by your love. And where I struggle to forgive another, I ask, Lord, that you move me closer to your Spirit of forgiveness and mercy.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!