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Forget the past and look towards the future!


The readings in today’s Mass have a general theme – forgetting what has happened in the past, and looking towards the future. Like the woman in today’s Gospel, we are sinners who ask God for forgiveness. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is the one on trial in this public setting where a woman is condemned by the scribes and Pharisees for having committed adultery. The woman is no more than a dispensable object in the process, a means to a sinister end.

Her life is of little concern to her accusers who ask Jesus for a legal opinion on her case. Should the full force of the law be exercised? Should she be stoned to death? Jesus does not dignify their manipulation with a response. Rather, he takes away their power over the woman by bending down and writing with his finger on the ground. What does he write? We can never have an answer to that question. Her accusers keep asking Jesus to provide a ruling. He subverts their ploy by confronting them with their own sinfulness: let the one without sin cast the first stone. They move off one by one and the woman is finally accorded the dignity of responding for herself. She is freed from the burden of condemnation. She can move forward with a strong sense of her worth and the realisation that she has encountered the mercy of God in the person of Jesus. Similarly, we can always move forward with a strong sense of worth. Lent is a time when we die to an old way of life and rise to a new life at Easter. It is always worth remembering the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the opportunities we have to receive it. When we do go to confession and we are absolved of our sins, we can forget about our past and look towards the future. Lent is quickly coming to an end and we begin Holy Week next Sunday. It is worth spending some time reflecting on our past and looking forward to the future – a future which we all share in Jesus’ glorious Resurrection at Easter!

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