FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
A word from—Father Chris
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
My brothers and sisters, there is a saying among my people that says, “When you point an accusing finger at someone, the other four fingers are pointing at you.” Its message and meaning is that as you accuse another of a fault or wrong doing, you have your faults, too. For example, last Sunday, we read that the elder brother of the Prodigal Son, who claimed he always obeyed his father, was at the same time unforgiving towards his brother, who was lost and found. He, indeed, refused to enter the house until his father pleaded with him.
The Scribes and Pharisees, in today’s reading, narrates about a woman caught in the very act of committing adultery. According to the law of Moses, such a person, they said, should be stoned to death. They brought her to Jesus to find out what he would say. Jesus said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The Gospel says, “they went away one by one till the woman was left alone. “ “Where are your accusers?” Jesus asked her, “Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No, Sir. “ Jesus said to her, “I will not condemn you, go and sin no more.” This episode dawned on the elders that they too were with sins.
This message from the Gospel and its reflection makes me say that there are some people who easily see faults in others but never see their own. To such people, Jesus said, “Remove the plank in your eye first, so as to see well enough to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). This is to say, we are more inclined to condemn others than to recognize our own sins or faults. This attitude affects the way we look at Sacramental Confession as something unattractive, forgetting that it gives grace to the soul. Many people, therefore, don’t embrace it and those who do, make a very poor or shallow Confession. A few, I must say, begin their Confession by saying: “I am a good person” and mention a few kindnesses he/she did for some people. Is this not a pharisaic method of doing Confession, I ask myself? This, in the real sense, is not the proper way of going to Confession. Confession is defined as an act of ACCUSING oneself of the sins committed in order to receive the grace of forgiveness and the mercy of God.