The Gospel of John records the Scribes and Pharisees showing much animosity towards Our Lord. They make many attempts to trap Him and to discredit Him. Often the trap is set around the ‘Law of God’, in which He would be expected to go against what the People of God knew to be sacrosanct. This Sunday the Gospel gives us one such episode (Jn 8:1-11) whereby He was presented with a woman caught in adultery. (Its interesting how only the woman was dragged into the scene, not the man!)
Like the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament Jesus vindicates the woman, confounds the hostile authorities and proves Himself a wise man. In the Old Testament Daniel proclaimed Susannah innocent. Our Lord does more. He offers pardon and peace to the woman. But He does not condone her sins: “Go …. And sin no more”. Arguably, I would say it the perfect passage for the Year of Mercy!
His gesture reminds the audience (and us!) that the purpose of the Law is not for trapping someone, nor enforced through the act of being vigilantes – but it is there to lead us to love better, God and our neighbour.
The call to repentance is a continuous call. It is a call to a deeper union with the Heavenly father and to each other; and often the response requires changes in life and in lifestyle.
In Christ, Fr Michael