In today’s Gospel we hear from John 8:1 – 11, the narrative of the woman caught in adultery where Jesus says the line, “Let the one among you who has not sinned be the first to cast a stone.” One of my favourite films is the Passion of the Christ, an apt film to watch at this time of year, and it has a beautiful scene in it portraying this moment of forgiveness, focusing on the moment of tenderness between the woman and Jesus. This is such an overwhelmingly beautiful gift from God: his unconditional forgiveness. And it is because of this that God says to us, “neither do I condemn you, go, and sin no more.” He who knows every act and thought we have forgives us utterly and completely! It reminds us that we, as baptised members of the Catholic Church, have a call on our lives, a call to be saints, to be holy, to become the people God has made us to be. This isn’t something reserved for a few elite members of the Church but to ALL of its members regardless of age or role. These words: “go, and sin no more”, are a reminder to us of this call to rise above sin, which prevents us from being authentically who God has made us, and to live fully the call to life and to freedom that was won for us by Jesus’ death on the cross.
A wonderful passage that is worth reflecting on is found in Pope St Leo the Great’s exhortation to newly baptised members of the Church: “Christian, remember your dignity!”. We are people who, yes, have sinned, and sinned gravely, but God, in his infinite love and mercy, looked at us and saw us as people worth saving, people worth spending an eternity with, people worth dying for and people with an infinite value and dignity. All of this is compromised when we sin. So, in these last few days before Easter, let us remember our dignity and remember that we too are called to “go, and sin no more”, to live those lives of freedom from sin which we are called to, to throw off those sins that slowly wear us down and prevent us from being authentically who we are. Maybe this week, particularly if you haven’t already this Lent, go to meet Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation knowing that he is waiting there with open arms for his children to come home.