Turning to Face the Lord

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

My three-year-old is in the tattletale stage. Every misstep by her big brother or sister provides another opportunity for her to come running - usually into the kitchen as I'm cooking - to report what she has witnessed. She stands there, waiting to see what kind of punishment might be meted out. In today's Gospel, we see Jesus confronted by a mob of unruly "children" who've come to tattle on one of their own, a woman caught in adultery. Unlike the three-year-old version of this bad habit, the crowd is not anticipating lost TV time; this crowd is hungry for blood. Like a good parent, Jesus maintains his cool while his children whine and make demands. They want vengeance, but he offers mercy. When Jesus turns the tables, the tattlers drop their rocks and go home, no doubt disappointed that they did not get the justice they were seeking. The woman faces Jesus, surely expecting punishment, but he pours out his love and forgiveness instead, telling her, "Go, and from now on do not sin any more." What a tremendous gift, not just to the woman caught in adultery but to every one of us. No matter how bad our transgressions, how off track our lives, mercy is just a prayer away.

Reflection based on John 8:1-11
Mary DeTurris Poust

Lord, give me the grace to acknowledge my sins and
bring them to you, even when I want to hide my face in
shame. Help me to remember that you will never
withhold your all-embracing love.

Today's suggested penance: Do something loving for someone who is sick.